Facts of the Pansy Shell

The fragile Pansy Shells are ties of sea urchins, with flattened, irregular shells, which live buried in the sand. When the Pansy is alive, the body is covered with fine short spines, resembling fur, unlike the porcupine needles of the ordinary Sea Urchin. Each spine is able to move around and is used to dig the animal into the sand.

Unlike the Sea Urchin, the Pansy has a definite front and rear and will always turn around so that the front points in the direction of movement. These animals have no brain and no eyes, so they are unable to see, but they possess a nervous system which controls all the bodily functions. The animal gets its name from the petal-like pattern which is formed by tiny holes. At the centre of the petals, one can find a little star with holes through the shell on four of the five points.

The Garden Route is the only place in the world where these shells are found. In America, a similar species exist, the Sand Dollar, which is rounder and fatter. The Shells are the skeleton of the Pansies, which have died and have been washed up on the shore. The sun bleaches them into a creamy white color. When alive they are purplish- blue from the tiny spines.

When you find a Pansy Shell yourself you “officially” become part of Plett and when one is given to you as a gift, it means that you are welcomed as a special part of Plett.

The Pansy Shells are protected, and no live pansies are allowed to be removed from their habitat. Please be careful to avoid the breeding grounds of these very precious little beings of Plett and happy hunting for the ones you are welcome to treasure!