Friday, March 28, 2008

The Scarlet Pimpernel

We found a small interesting wildflower on our trip to south Texas that we had never noticed before. It is a sprawling weedy plant with really tiny flowers. It is diminutive, but beautiful none the less.

We were at a National Wildlife Federation Conference in Denver many years ago and took a class called "Nature Creeping". We crawled around on the ground for an hour in different habitats and observed a lot of really neat stuff. We should all remember to do that more.

Anagallis arvensis & ssp. foemina
click for full view

The following information is taken from Wikipedia:

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.

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.

It 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 ¼" 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.

Troy & Martha


photowannabe said...

So tiny yet so well formed and lovely in its own right. A pretty "weed".

Duncan said...

Pimpernel is a common introduced weed here in Australia, doesn't cause a problem though, so I can just admire its flowers.

AphotoAday said...

Nature-creeping? --sounds like it could be a variation on the dubious snipe-hunt... But if you say so...

Thanks for the info on the Scarlet Pimpernel -- very interesting.

Tom Arbour said...

Very nice photo. We have Analigis here in Ohio as well (it won't bloom until June or so), but I've never seen the blue variety. It is quite a looker!


Chris said...

Do you know what I thought of when I first viewed your lovely weed flowers? It reminded me of the outfits my grandma Theresa use to make for my cousin and I. Always the same but in different colors! She would sew her creations out of love for us (we are the same age)and I remember us looking alike but in different colors! She passed away 8 years ago and I do miss her, but it was nice to have a warm memory of her through your post!
Thank you!!!!!!
Wonderful photo. :)

Pappy said...

"Sink me". Beautiful little jewels.

Texas Travelers said...

To all, Thanks for the comments and information.
To Chris, a very nice story.
To Texican, torpedoes away ! ! !

Rurality said...

I was doing similar creeping/crawling just today! Amazing how good the "driveway wildflowers" look when you're just inches away. :)

I had no idea that there was a blue version of this plant. I'd love to see them both.