Anagallis arvensis

Anagallis arvensis

The scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis; also known as the red pimpernel, red chickweed, poorman's barometer, shepherd's weather glass, or shepherd's clock) is a low-growing, annual plant in the family Myrsinaceae, growing in Europe, Asia and North America. The barometer (weather glass) common names have their origin in the fact that the flowers close when atmospheric pressure decreases and bad weather is approaching.

This common European plant is generally considered a weed and is an indicator of light soils.

It is most well known for being the emblem of the fictional hero The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Growth

The stems are about 45 cm long and generally prostrate. The bright green ovate sessile leaves grow opposite. The small orange flowers grow in the leaf axils from spring till autumn. The petal margin is somewhat crenate.

Subspecies

The subspecies Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina has bright, deep blue flowers. Many botanist consider it a species on its own, namely Anagallis foemina.

References

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