Scientific Name: Anagallis arvensis

Common Name: scarlet pimpernel

Other Common Names: poor man's weather glass

Habit: forb/herb

Leaves: Opposite, oval to elliptic in outline, reaching 1 inch in length, without petioles. Lower leaf surfaces have small dark purple spots. Leaves may have tiny hairs and sometimes may occur in whorls of three.

Identifying Characteristics: A low-growing annual that resembles chickweed but has showy reddish-orange flowers. A low-growing annual with opposite leaves that have spots on the lower surfaces. This weed is often mistakenly identified as Common Chickweed (<a href='../../weedimg/346'>Stellaria media</a>), however scarlet pimpernel has square stems and reddish-orange flowers while common chickweed has round stems and white flowers. Additionally, the purple spots on the lower leaf surfaces of scarlet pimpernel help to distinguish this weed from other similar weed species.

Flower Seed Head: Solitary flowers arise from the area between the stem and leaves (leaf axils) and occur on relatively long stalks (pedicels). Individual flowers have 5 petals that are orange to red in color with tiny hairs along the margins. Flowering usually occurs from June to August.

Seed Fruit: A round capsule that contains many small (1.3 mm long), brown seeds.

Where Found: Primarily a weed of turfgrass and landscapes that is now distributed throughout the United States.

  • Life cycle: winter annual

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Plant family: Primulaceae