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Species Notebook:

  • Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel: poor mans weather-glass

    Post date: Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 - 00:00

    There can be few more distinctive wild flowers than the scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) and it is one I am sure we can all name on sight. The small, prostrate plant with clear red flowers is instantly recognisable and its popular name is one we learn at an early age. It flowers from May until September and is visible throughout the summer on disturbed ground and so is suited to arable fields and gardens where it is quite common.

    What else can I tell you about this familiar plant that you will not already know? Very little in fact. One would expect such a popular plant (the emblem of the famous fictional character of the French Revolution of course) to be steeped in folk-lore but I can find nothing of note other than it has an old country name of the poor man's weather-glass because the flowers close up in when the sun goes in. I find it a bit strange that it should be called that given any poor man would know the sun had gone in without needing to look at a flower to tell!

    This plant is found in all corners of the world and occurs in a blue form in some areas, particularly around the Mediterranean. 



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