BLUE PIMPERNEL

Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina

Myrsine Family [Myrsinaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct

status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8blue
inner
inner8purple inner8beetroot
inner
inner8cream  inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8square
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
rarity
rarityZscarce

21st May 2013, Catalonia, Spain. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
A sub-species of the abundant Scarlet Pimpernel, but much rarer and usually growing on arable land.


21st May 2013, Catalonia, Spain. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Flowers with deep-blue petals.


21st May 2013, Catalonia, Spain. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Other than a few extremely minor (some minute) differences outlined below, it is virtually identical to Scarlet Pimpernel, which also comes in blue varieties but without the minute differences.


21st May 2013, Catalonia, Spain. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The petals have fewer minute teeth on the edges than those of Scarlet Pimpernel.


21st May 2013, Catalonia, Spain. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Stems are square. A couple of branches emerge just above the opposite pair of leaves at a 45° angle.



Easily mistaken for : blue versions of Scarlet Pimpernel * (Anagallis arvensis ssp. arvensis), which usually, but not always, have scarlet coloured petals. The difference between the two is tiny: the edges of the petals of Blue Pimpernel are smoother with fewer fine teeth, and the glandular hairs, when examined under a microscope, have four sections rather than three and the gland at the tip of the glandular hair is ovaloid rather than spherical.

*Scarlet Pimpernel can not only sometimes have blue petals, but otherwise pink or white petals. These polymorphisms are not unusual, and in the case of Scarlet Pimpernel seem to occur when the plant is under heavier sunlight, such as may occur more often in the South of England, but much more often in the Mediterranean, where almost all Scarlet Pimpernels are of the blue polymorphism.

Just as with Scarlet Pimpernel, the leaves of Blue Pimpernel are arrow-head in shape, attached directly to the stem without stalks in opposite pairs, with the two branches peeling off just above the leaf junctions at 45 degrees upwards and aligned with the leaves. The stems are square, and adjacent pairs of leaves are set at right-angles to each other. Blue Pimpernel is much rarer than Scarlet Pimpernel.

Probably like Scarlet Pimpernel it will be poisonous containing Arvenins and Cucurbaticins such as Arvenin I and Cucurbaticin B.

AN ANTHOCYANIN

  The deep-blue coloration of the petals is due to the presence of blue-purple crystals of Malvidin-3-Rhamnoside, an anthocyanin, which it stores at a pH of about 4.6 (slightly acidic) in order to keep stable.


  Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Myrsinaceae  

Distribution
 family8Myrsine family8Myrsinaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Anagallis
Anagallis
(Pimpernels)

BLUE PIMPERNEL

Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina

Myrsine Family [Myrsinaceae]