The Scarlet Pimpernel flower
 


The Scarlet Pimpernel is known to most people as a famous literary character but it is the common name of a flower generally regarded as a weed in the Northern Hemisphere. Anagallis arvensis goes by a lot of names: the "red pimpernel", "red chickweed", "poor man's weather glass", "shepherd's weatherglass" and "shepherd's clock", to name some. It is a low-growing, annual plant in the Myrsinaceae family, growing in Europe, Asia and North America. The common names "poor man's weatherglass", "shepherd's weatherglass" and "shepherd's clock" relate to the fact that the flowers close when bad weather is approaching. The presence of the flower is usually an indication of light soils. The Anagallis arvensis's stems are about 45 cm long and generally prostrate. The flower is most noted for being the emblem of the fictional hero the Scarlet Pimpernel.