Wildflowers – Scarlet Pimpernel

Scarlet pimpernel is a tiny bright red flower. It grows in the crevices between pavement slabs

Scarlet pimpernel
Scarlet pimpernel

It has many names such as red pimpernel, red chickweed, poor man’s barometer, poor man’s weather-glass, shepherd’s weather glass or shepherd’s clock. The flowers are very sensitive to sunlight and shade. They tend to only open when the sunshines and close again in shade.

Scarlet pimpernel
Scarlet pimpernel

The stamens have a bright yellow end and have lollipop hairs which attract many pollinators especially flies. The flowers are also capable of self pollination.

Scarlet pimpernel
Scarlet pimpernel

The plant is classed as harmfully toxic and sufficiently large doses are toxic. Grazing livestock tend to avoid it as it is bitter. In tests using the essential oil humans were found to have 24 hours of intense nausea, headache and bodily bodily pain after ingestion.

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