Anagallis arvensis L.
scarlet pimpernel, blue pimpernel, shepherd's clock, poor man's weatherglass
Europe, west Asia, north Africa
This is a small, low-growing annual (living its life-cycle within 1 year) trailing plant which can have stems up to 30 cm in length. It does not have a rosette nor does it root at the nodes. It spreads from a base in the centre.
Stems are fleshy and square in cross section. Leaves are opposite, soft and oval-shaped.
Flowers are solitary, small, pink/red/orange or blue with 5 petals between which can be seen 5 green pointed sepals. It flowers in Spring.
Fruit is a round 5 ridged capsule. Capsules are opposite and quite prolific along the stems. Leaves die off as seed matures. Trailing brown stems with ripe seed capsules can be seen in late Summer and early Autumn.
Other plants easily confused with this plant
When in flower this plant is very distinctive and easily recognised by its upright brightly coloured flowers. It is also distinctive when its seeds are mature and the brown dry stems with brown round fruit sprawl across the ground or other plants.
Sources & References
"Weeds - an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia" by B. A. Auld and R. W. Medd
"Gardener's Companion to Weeds" by Suzanne Ermert and Leigh Clapp
"Plantnet FloraOnline" (2005) http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/
Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005
Checked by IEWF, Oct 2005
Checked by Barbara Wiecek, Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, June 2006