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Anagallis arvensis - L.

Common Name Scarlet Pimpernel
Family Primulaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards The seeds are slightly poisonous to some mammals, but no cases involving people are known[13, 76]. Skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in some people[76].
Habitats Roadsides and cultivated land[9], preferring rather sandy soils[7].
Range Throughout most of the world, including Britain, but absent from the Tropics.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Anagallis arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel

Anagallis arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel

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A low-growing annual plant. Once highly regarded as a medicinal herb but now questioned due to it's toxicity. The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary. Common Names include: blue pimpernel; care-all; common pimpernel; poor man's weatherglass; red chickweed. Spanish: coralillo; jaboncillo; murrajes; pilpis; pimpinela escarlata. French: morgeline; morgeline d'ete; mouron des champs; mouron rouge. Arabic: 'ayen el jamel. Portuguese: escarlate; morriao vermelho; murriao. Algeria: lizireg; meridjana. Brazil: escalarte. Chile: pimpinela azul. Croatia: krika poljska. Czechoslovakia (former): drchnicka roini. Denmark: rod arve. Egypt: 'ain el-gamal; omm lebben; qonfooda; saboon gheit. Finland: puna alpi. Germany: Acker Gauchheil; Feld Gauchheil; Roter Gauchheil. Hawaii: poisonous pimpernel. Hungary: mezel tikszem. India: biliputi (Punjabi); krishnaneel. Iran: bazrak vahshee. Iraq: rmaimeeneh. Italy: anagallide rossa; bellichina; mordi-gallina. Japan: akabana aruri hakobe. Lebanon: adhan el far el nabti; lubbayn; zaghila. Macedonia: vidovcica crvena. Mauritius: mouron. Netherlands: gewoon guichelheil; guichelheil. Norway: nonsblom; rodarve. Pakistan: bili booti. Poland: kurzyslad polny. Slovenia: njivna kurja cesnjica. South Africa: blouseblommetjie; rooimuur. Sweden: rodarv; roedarv. Taiwan: hwo-jin-gu. Turkey: tarla farekulagi. USA: poison chickweed; poisonweed; shepherd's clock; wink-a-peep Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): vidovcia.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Anagallis arvensis is a ANNUAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[2, 105, 115]. Used in salads[4] and as a spinach[2]. The tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable[272]. It is best not to eat these leaves[55, 238], see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antidepressant;  Antipruritic;  Antitussive;  Antiviral;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  
Homeopathy;  Nervine;  Purgative;  Stimulant;  Vulnerary.

The scarlet pimpernel was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems[254], 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[238, 254]. The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 46]. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice[7]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder[9, 272]. The plant is best harvested in June and can be dried for later use[4]. Use with caution[21], large doses can cause polyuria and tremor[7]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used internally to treat itchy skins and externally to remove warts[9].

Other Uses


The squeezed plant is used in Nepal for washing and bathing[272]. Anagallis arvensis is insecticidal, or at least is repellent to some insects.

Cultivation details

Prefers a sunny position and a good soil[1]. Succeeds in dry or sandy soils[238]. 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[207].


Seed - sow spring in situ.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Weedy in some areas of the US including Kentucky and the Northeast.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

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Readers comment

Marinella Zepigi   Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Anagallis arvensis L. s.l. - Description - Photos

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