Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
scarlet pimpernel


Anagallis arvensis, commonly known as the scarlet pimpernel, is a low-growing annual plant characterized by its vibrant flowers and sprawling habit. This plant typically bears oval-shaped leaves that grow opposite each other along the stems. Each leaf is small, with smooth edges, and attaches directly to the stem without any stalk. The most distinctive feature of the scarlet pimpernel is its flowers, which are a striking bright red or orange, and sometimes blue in certain varieties. These flowers are star-shaped, consisting of five small, rounded petals that are arrayed around a central darker eye. Each petal is slightly notched at the tip. When in bloom, the flowers open only when the sun shines and close in overcast conditions or at dusk, which has led to its nickname as the "poor man's weather glass." The stems of the scarlet pimpernel are slender and creeping, sometimes branching out to form a loose mat of foliage. Its humble bearings often camouflage the plant among other vegetation. The fruit of the scarlet pimpernel is a small capsule that splits open when ripe, containing tiny seeds that allow for propagation into the following seasons. Overall, the plant's presentation is modest but colorful, making it noticeable despite its smaller-scale growth habit.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Scarlet Pimpernel, Red Pimpernel, Red Chickweed, Poor Man's Barometer, Poor Man's Weather-glass, Shepherd's Weather Glass, Shepherd's Clock, Adder's Eyes, Bird's Eye, Bloody Man's Fingers, Shepherd's Warning, Eye of The Day, Death-Comes-Quickly, Weather-Glass, Wink-A-Peep, Jack-Go-To-Bed-At-Noon.

    • Common names

      Anagallis arvensis var. caerulea, Anagallis arvensis var. phoenicea, Anagallis coerulea, Anagallis foemina, Anagallis linifolia, Anagallis phoenicea, Anagallis pumila, Lysimachia arvensis, Lysimachia minoricensis.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant Anagallis arvensis, also known as Scarlet Pimpernel, contains toxic compounds that can be harmful if ingested. It is not considered highly toxic to humans, but consuming parts of this plant can lead to symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. More serious effects may occur with large ingestions and could potentially include neurological symptoms like dizziness and convulsions. As with any plant ingestion, the consequences can vary based on the amount consumed and the individual's sensitivity.

    • To pets

      Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) is similarly toxic to pets as it is to humans. Ingestion by animals can lead to gastrointestinal distress, manifesting as vomiting and diarrhea. Pets may also experience lethargy or more serious health issues if they consume a large quantity of the plant. If you suspect your pet has ingested Scarlet Pimpernel, it is advisable to seek veterinary attention immediately to manage the symptoms effectively.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6 inches (15 cm)

    • Spread

      10 inches (25 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Scarlet pimpernel provides nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects, which can help increase biodiversity.
    • Drought Resistant: Native to a range of environments, the scarlet pimpernel can tolerate periods of dryness, making it suitable for xeriscaping or dry gardens.
    • Ornamental Appeal: With bright, colorful flowers, it can enhance the visual appeal of gardens and landscapes.
    • Ground Cover: Its low-growing habit and ability to spread can help prevent soil erosion and suppress weeds in certain settings.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic: Anagallis arvensis, commonly known as scarlet pimpernel, has been traditionally used to increase urine production.
    • Expectorant: The plant is sometimes used to help loosen phlegm and ease coughs.
    • Wound healing: It has been applied externally to small wounds and cuts to aid in healing.
    • Anti-inflammatory: There have been indications of its use to reduce inflammation.
    • Skin conditions: Historically, it has been used for treating skin ailments such as itches and irritations.
    • Mild sedative: Anagallis arvensis was thought to have mild sedative effects for calming nerves.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Dye Production: The bright orange and red pigments in the flowers of scarlet pimpernel can be used to create natural dyes for fabrics and crafts.
    • Survival Indicator: The flower of the scarlet pimpernel is known to close its petals before rain; thus, it can serve as a weather predictor in survival situations.
    • Insect Repellent: The crushed leaves of scarlet pimpernel have traditionally been used to repel insects and are sometimes included in natural insect repellent formulations.
    • Garden Pest Control: The presence of scarlet pimpernel can attract predatory insects that help manage garden pests, making it useful as part of an integrated pest management system.
    • Paint Colorant: Artists in the past may have used the juice from Scarlet Pimpernel flowers as a colorant for watercolor or other types of paint.
    • Magic and Folklore: In some traditions, scarlet pimpernel is associated with enchantment and was used in magical potions or rituals, particularly in love charms.
    • Photography: The vibrant colors of the scarlet pimpernel flowers can be used as a natural subject in botanical photography, contributing to the biodiversity representation.
    • Floristry: Though not a common cut flower, the scarlet pimpernel may be used in wildflower arrangements for its bright, diminutive blooms.
    • Educational Tool: The plant can be used in educational settings to teach about plant responses to environmental changes as it opens and closes its flowers depending on light and moisture conditions.
    • Children's Games: Historically, children have used the flowers of the scarlet pimpernel in various outdoor games, such as who can spot the closed flowers first before an impending rain.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Scarlet Pimpernel is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Scarlet Pimpernel is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Hope: Anagallis arvensis, commonly known as Scarlet Pimpernel, is often associated with hope due to its habit of opening its flowers when the sun shines, signifying the belief in better things to come with the light.
    • Change: The plant's ability to close its petals before the rain has traditionally symbolized change or the ability to predict alterations in one's environment.
    • Temporal Happiness: Scarlet Pimpernel's brief flowering periods, which only occur during sunny moments, are taken to represent fleeting joy or the transient nature of happy moments.

Every 1-2 weeks
10000 - 20000 Lux
Every year
Spring to early summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    Scarlet pimpernel, or Anagallis arvensis, prefers consistent moisture, so frequent watering is necessary, particularly during dry spells. Aim to provide about 1 inch of water per week, which translates to around 0.5 gallons for a small area around the plant. Depending on the local climate, soil, and weather conditions, water every few days to maintain evenly moist soil without causing waterlogging. Water the plant at the base to avoid wetting the foliage, which can lead to fungal diseases. During the growing season, increase the water volume slightly to provide additional moisture that supports active growth.

  • sunLight

    Scarlet pimpernel thrives in full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot for this plant is an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Avoid deep shade locations, as insufficient light can inhibit blooming and result in leggy growth. Partial shade is acceptable, especially in hot climates where the midday sun can be too intense.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Scarlet pimpernel grows best in temperate climates with temperatures ranging from 60 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It can often tolerate temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. However, the ideal temperature range for vigorous growth and flowering is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning scarlet pimpernel helps to encourage bushier growth and remove any unhealthy or damaged parts of the plant. Lightly prune the plant during early spring or after the blooming phase to maintain its compact shape and promote a second wave of flowers. Deadheading, the process of removing spent blooms, can be done regularly throughout the blooming season to keep the plant looking tidy and to stimulate additional flowering.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Scarlet Pimpernel thrives in a well-draining loam or sandy soil mix with moderate fertility and a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. A blend of garden soil, sand, and organic compost is ideal for promoting healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Scarlet Pimpernel typically does not require frequent repotting. It can be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current container.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Scarlet Pimpernel prefers moderate humidity levels but is tolerant of a range of conditions. It usually thrives in the natural outdoor humidity.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep in bright light, water moderately.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to part shade, well-drained soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Anagallis arvensis, commonly known as Scarlet Pimpernel, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in the spring, under suitable temperature and moisture conditions. Upon germination, the seedling emerges, developing a root system and a rosette of leaves at the soil surface. As it matures, the plant grows upright stems and produces more leaves, followed by the distinctive orange, red, or blue flowers that open only in direct sunlight. After pollination, which is often facilitated by insects, the plant forms small capsule-like fruits that contain the seeds. These seeds are eventually dispersed by various means, such as by wind, water, or passing animals. The plant completes its cycle either as an annual, dying after seed production, or as a short-lived perennial that may survive for a second growing season in mild climates.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most popular method of propagation for the Scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis, is through seed sowing. Seed propagation is generally performed in the spring when the threat of frost has passed. To propagate Scarlet pimpernel by seed, one would scatter the seeds directly onto a well-drained soil surface where they will receive plenty of sunlight, as this plant thrives in full sun. The seeds should be lightly covered with soil, about 1/8 inch (approximately 3 millimeters) deep. Keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged is key to successful germination. Given the appropriate conditions, Scarlet pimpernel seeds typically germinate within two to three weeks, after which they can continue to grow into healthy flowering plants.