Scarlet Pimpernel

Anagallis arvensis

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  3. Scarlet Pimpernel


Flowering between May and September, Scarlet Pimpernel is a common arable weed and is most famous for being the emblem of the fictional hero of the same name. It is sometimes also known as 'Old Man's Weathervane' or 'Shepherd's Weather-glass' as the flowers close when atmospheric pressure falls and bad weather approaches. Scarlet Pimpernel can be found in arable fields and gardens, on coastal cliffs, roadside verges and chalk downlands.

How to identify

Scarlet Pimpernel has red flowers with five petals, each fringed with many tiny hairs, and unstalked, oval leaves on trailing stems. Sometimes its flowers can be blue.

Where to find it

Widespread and common across the UK, although Scotland has considerably less.


When to find it

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Before the Second World War, arable weeds, such as Scarlet Pimpernel, would have peppered the landscape with colour in the summer months. But the post-war intensification of agriculture and widespread use of herbicides have driven massive declines in many of these species and the wildlife that depends on them. Nevertheless, The Wildlife Trusts manage many farmland and grassland habitats for the benefit of these plants, often using traditional methods. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Scarlet Pimpernel
Latin name
Anagallis arvensis
Height: up to 30cm
Conservation status