It has been proposed (Ulrika Manns & Arne A. Anderberg; New combinations and names in Lysimachia (Myrsinaceae) for species of Anagallis, Pelletiera and Trientalis, Willdenowia, 39(1):pp 49-54; 2009) that the genus Anagallis be transferred to Lysimachia. This proposal has not yet been accepted, so we are leaving this species under Anagallis. If the proposal does get accepted then the name for this species will become Lysimachia arvensis (L.) U.Manns & Anderb.[
Anagallis arabica Duby
Anagallis caerulea L.
Anagallis caerulea Schreb.
Anagallis carnea Schrank
Anagallis coerulea Schreb.
Anagallis foemina Mill.
Anagallis hadidii Chrtek & Osb.-Kos.
Anagallis indica Sweet
Anagallis jacquemontii Duby
Anagallis latifolia L.
Anagallis mas Vill.
Anagallis micrantha Rouy
Anagallis monelli M.Bieb.
Anagallis orientalis Fisch., C.A.Mey. & Avé-Lall.
Anagallis parviflora Hoffmanns. & Link
Anagallis parviflora Loisel.
Anagallis phoenicea (Gouan) Scop.
Anagallis pulchella Salisb.
Anagallis punctifolia Stokes
Anagallis repens DC.
Anagallis verticillata All.
Lysimachia arvensis (L.) U.Manns & Anderb.
Lysimachia foemina (Mill.) U.Manns & Anderb.
Common Name: Scarlet Pimpernel
Anagallis arvensis is an annual to biennial plant, sometimes becoming a short-lived perennial. Usually branched at the base, it produces a number of erect to decumbent or prostrate stems 10 - 30cm long, often rooting at the nodes and forming a mat of growth[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and possibly also as a food and as an alternative for soap.
The plant has spread as a weed to many regions of the world. It is considered to be invasive in may areas, including Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and many of the Pacific Islands[
The seeds are slightly poisonous to some mammals, but no cases involving people are known[
Skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in some people[
Throughout most of the temperate and subtropical zones of Europe, Africa and Asia
Roadsides and cultivated land[
], preferring rather sandy soils[
Anagallis arvensis is a very adaptable plant and has spread as a weed throughout much of the temperate zone and into the subtropics.
Prefers a sunny position and a good soil[
]. Succeeds in dry or sandy soils[
The flowers open at about 8 am and close at 3pm each day, though they close earlier if it rains. The flowers are also said to foretell wet weather if they close early[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Used in salads[
] and as a spinach[
]. The tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable[
]. It is best not to eat these leaves[
], see the notes above on toxicity.
Scarlet pimpernel was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems[
], but there is little evidence to support its efficacy and it is no longer recommended for internal use because it contains toxic saponins and cytotoxic cucurbitacins[
The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary[
]. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice[
]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder[
The plant is best harvested in June and can be dried for later use[
]. Use with caution[
], large doses can cause polyuria and tremor[
A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant that has a marked action upon the skin[
]. It is used internally to treat itchy skins and externally to remove warts and to help remove splinters[
The squeezed plant is used in Nepal for washing and bathing[
The flowers usually close in the early to mid afternoon, and are said to foretell wet weather if they close early[
Seed - sow spring in situ.