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Anagallis arvensis

Scarlet pimpernel

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ericales
Family: Myrsinaceae
Genus: Anagallis
Species: A. arvensis
Binomial name
Anagallis arvensis

The Scarlet pimpernel (Red pimpernel, Red chickweed, Poor man's barometer, Shepherd's weather glass, or Shepherd's clock; Anagallis arvensis) 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.

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.

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

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

In the film "Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny," "I'll make him squeal like my scarlet pimpernel" is a euphemism the devil uses for raping Kyle. It is rhymed with "I'm gonna fill him with my hot demon gel."


  • Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
  • Harvey Wickes Felter and John Uri Lloyd (1898) King's American Dispensatory.
  • Mari Källersjö, Gullevi Bergqvist and Arne A. Anderberg (2000). "Generic realignment in primuloid families of the Ericales s.l.: a phylogenetic analysis based on DNA sequences from three chloroplast genes and morphology". American Journal of Botany 87: 1325-1341. (full pdf.text)
  • Ulrika Manns and Arne A. Anderberg (2005). "Molecular Phylogeny of Anagallis (Myrsinaceae) Based on ITS, trnL-F, and ndhF Sequence Data". International Journal of Plant Sciences 166: 1019–1028. doi:10.1086/449318.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Anagallis_arvensis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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