Name: Scarlet Pimpernel (Lysimachia arvensis)
Other names: Anagallis arvensis, scarlet pimpernel, blue-scarlet pimpernel, red pimpernel, red chickweed, poor man's barometer, poor man's weather-glass, shepherd's weather glass or shepherd's clock
Higher classification: Pimpernels
Description: A low-growing annual plant with brightly coloured flowers, most often scarlet but also bright blue and sometimes pink. When found as a summer annual, the scarlet pimpernel has a low-growing creeping habit, but as a winter annual, it forms a half-rosette with an upright stem. It has weak sprawling stems with square cross-section growing to about 5–30 centimetres (2–12 in) long. They bear bright green, soft, ovate sessile leaves in opposite pairs. The orange, red or blue, radially symmetric flowers, about 10–15 millimetres (0.4–0.6 in) in diameter, are produced singly in the leaf axils from spring to autumn.
Distribution: The native range of the species is Europe and Western Asia and North Africa. The species has been distributed widely by humans, either deliberately as an ornamental flower or accidentally. L. arvensis is now naturalised almost worldwide, with a range that encompasses the Americas, Central and East Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, Malesia, the Pacific Islands, Australasia and Southern Africa.
Fun fact: Anagallis arvensis is generally unwelcome as a cosmopolitan invasive species; it is harmfully toxic in several respects and accordingly undesirable in pastures.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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