Scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis

Life Cycle



Reproduces by seed.


Smooth, green stems (may be covered in very fine hair).


Opposite leaf orientation. Leaves are entire, green, egg-shaped, and less than 2.5 cm in length. Underside of leaves are marked with tiny red/purple or brown spots.

Flowers and Fruit

Small, showy scarlet flowers (can be blue or white but this is uncommon), approximately 0.5 - 1 cm across, growing on long stalks (green or purple) out of axils of the leaves. Petals are slightly joined together at the base and the calyx is deeply cleft into 5 equal parts. Darker pink or purple in the centre where the petals meet. Scarlet flowers open only in the sun.


This plant is low-lying and sprawling and can be found along roadsides, gardens, lawns and waste areas.

Figure #1.