SCARLET PIMPERNEL

POOR MANS WEATHERGLASS

Anagallis arvensis

Myrsine Family [Myrsinaceae]  
Formerly in: Primrose Family [Primulaceae]

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept month8Oct

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8red
inner
inner8purple
inner
inner8cream inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
stem
stem8square
toxicity
toxicityZmedium

28th May 2012, Penrhyn Bay, under Little Orme, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Sprawling and prostrate.


28th May 2012, Penrhyn Bay, under Little Orme, North Wales. Photo: © RWD


7th June 2005, Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Sefton Coastal Path. Photo: © RWD
Sprawling and prostrate.


7th June 2005, Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Sefton Coastal Path. Photo: © RWD
The scarlet flowers open only when the sun is shining.


7th June 2005, Ainsdale Nature Reserve, Sefton Coastal Path. Photo: © RWD



5 Aug 2004, Cartmel, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The stem terminates in a cluster of smaller and smaller leaves. The leaves are either in whorls (of 3 or 4) up the stem ...


18th June 2015, disused quarry, Little Orme, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Flowers emerge in opposite pairs on long stalks in the uppermost axils of the paired leaves. The leaves appear to be perfoliate (totally surrounding the stem) but are in fact amplexicaul (abutting each other with just the slightest of gaps between them).


31st May 2007, Dalton Zoo, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Or are oppositely paired, alternately at right-angles up the square stems.


13th Sept 2015, East Lancs Rd, Worsley, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Or in whorls of three or four leaves up the stem. Here in whorls of 3. The number of flowers emerging from the leaf axils mirrors the number of leaves there, one flower per leaf.


3rd Sept, Delamere, Cheshire. Photo: © RWD


31st May 2007, Dalton Zoo, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Five petals, five stamens, and a purple-tinged central portion.


6th Sept 2015, East Lancs Rd, Worsley, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Five pointed sepals slightly shorter than the petals.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
It is sunny therefore the flowers are open. Strikingly vivid and contrasting colours, with the magenta clashing with the yellow and behaving discordant with the scarlet the white seems to get away un-noticed.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Both the 4 filaments and the single style are white near their base and magenta further up. Only the filaments have bobbly hairs, white near their base, magenta further up. Anthers tipped with bright-yellow pollen. Style tipped by a white stigma.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The stigma has much shorter white projections with a bobble on their end whereas the filaments have much longer hairs with a string of bobbles all along their length.


19th Sept 2017, Ainsdale, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Even the tips of the petals are edged with very short nearly invisible hairs tipped by a single dark-purple bobble: glandular hairs.


6th Sept 2015, East Lancs Rd, Worsley, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The five stamens are white at the bottom and magenta at the top, as is the central lone style. The filaments of the stamens are covered in translucent beaded concolorous hairs and tipped by bright yellow anthers. The style is tipped by stigma, coloured not white, but a bright yellow concolorous with the pollen on the stamens, indicating that some pollen is fertilising it. Now whether this be self-fertilisation or from another flower, who can tell. Near the whitish central ovary many of the the white-beaded hairs are tipped by a dark-purple bead, but so too are the magenta-beaded hairs higher up, although this is not as noticeable.


13th Sept 2015, East Lancs Rd, Worsley, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
The heavier fruits tend to droop down. They have a long and narrow remnant style.


13th Sept 2015, East Lancs Rd, Worsley, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Fruit has persistent style, alas here broken and bent. Five tapered sepals with wide semi-translucent margins.


13th Sept 2015, East Lancs Rd, Worsley, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Fruit spherical with 5 segments.


PHYLLODY in SCARLET PIMPERNEL

 Mutations Menu
3rd Jan 2018, a garden, Falmouth, Cornwall Photo: © Kevin Thomas
Two pairs of leaves are now growing out from within the flowerhead. This is the growth aberration called Phyllody and can be cause by a phytophthora infection.


3rd Jan 2018, a garden, Falmouth, Cornwall Photo: © Kevin Thomas
Leaves are not supposed to grow here within a flowerhead.


3rd Jan 2018, a garden, Falmouth, Cornwall Photo: © Kevin Thomas
The growth aberration called Phyllody can be due to a number of differing reasons, one of which is called Clover Phyllody Disease.


A blue form also exists as a morph.

Unlike the round stems of Bog Pimpernel, Scarlet Pimpernel has square stems, as does the similar, but un-related, Creeping Jenny.

Not to be confused with: 'Poor Man's Asparagus' [a plant with similar nickname].

CUCURBATICINS & their GLYCOSIDES, ARVENINS


All parts of Scarlet Pimpernel are poisonous, containing the Cucurbitacins, Arvenin I, Arvenin II, Arvenin III and Arvenin IV and Cucurbitacin B as well as triterpene saponins and oxalates. All Arvenins are glucopyranosides. Cucurbaticins bind to microtubules and are therefore cytotoxic. All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the roots, and consumption of it can result in gastrointestinal disturbances, trembling and kidney damage.

Related to the Cucurbaticins (of which Cucurbaticin B is just one) are the Arvenins, of which four are know, Arvenin I, Arvenin II, Arvenin III and Arvenin IV. Shown is just one, Arvenin I. Arvenin I is just Cucurbaticin B with a glycoside attached. The same poisons are also in White Bryony.




It also contains Cyclamin, a toxic monodesmosidic triterpenoid saponin which was first identified in species of Cyclamen. The glycoside groups are depicted in blue. Cyclamin is a breakdown product of the Cucurbaticin Glycosides, and occurs in the roots after they have been kept a while (although it does look like it is assembling itself from the above rather than 'breaking down' per se).

ANTHOCYANINS

Whereas the petals of the blue version of Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis ssp. arvensis) (Blue Pimpernel) (Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina) contains crystals of the blue-purple anthocyanin Malvidin-3-Rhamnoside those of the red version contain the red anthocyanin Delphinidin, although other possibly more reliable sources say that they contains a mixture of several anthocyanins: Callistephin (aka Pelargonidin-3-O-βGlucopyranoside), Oenin (aka Malvidin-3-O-βGlucopyranoside) as well as the blue-purple Malvidin-3-Rhamnoside in various proportions (after all, the petals do tend towards purple in the centre, and are not uniformly pigmented).

  Callistephin, chemically Pelargonidin-3-O-β- -Glucopyranoside, is another of the red anthocyanins found in Scarlet Pimpernel (and in the berries of Strawberry, in Purple Corn (aka Purple Maize) and in the skins of those Grapes used to brew the red wines Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

  Oenin, chemically Malvidin-3-O-β-GlucoPyranoside, is one of the red-purple anthocyanins found in the flowers (petals) of Scarlet Pimpernel (and in the skin of Grapes) and is thus found imparting colour in red wine. Your Author does not yet know whether Oenin was first found in Oenanthe species (Water Dropworts), or in Oenthera species (Evening-Primroses), or neither.

  Malvidin-3-Rhamnoside is a blue anthocyanin and occurs in greater concentrations in Blue Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis ssp. foemina) which possesses far less (if any) of the other two anthocyanins above. Blue Pimpernel is just a morph (a sub-species) of Scarlet Pimpernel, and just has some differing anthocyanins than Scarlet Pimpernel. Only the petals are blue, every other part exhibits the same colours as the scarlet morph. It seems that the sunnier it is, the more the blue morph form is preferred. It also copes better in dry conditions than the Scarlet morph. Blue Pimpernel occurs in great swathes in the sunny hot Mediterranean around Malaga airport (which is in Spain). The blue morph also flowers three weeks earlier than does the Scarlet morph, which also occurs in the Mediterranean (but less often), an advantage in the Mediterranean where the soils can dry out very quickly. But no one really knows why the blue morph is the preferred morph in hot sunny climates. See Plant Hormones.

Without the glycoside unit, Malvidin itself is said (they may be talking about its glycosides!)) to be responsible for the blue coloration of the petals of some blue Primula species (Primulas are normally yellow!). As Malvidin it is also one of the (reddish) pigments in the grapes of Grape Vine (Vitis vinifera) and thus also occurs in red wine. Like many other Anthocyanidins, the colour of solutions of Malvidin is sensitive to the pH of the environment: it is red in acidic or neutral pH environments, and blue in alkaline (basic) environments.


  Anagallis arvensis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Myrsinaceae  

Distribution
family8myrsine family8Myrsinaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Anagallis
Anagallis
(Pimpernels)

SCARLET PIMPERNEL

POOR MANS WEATHERGLASS

Anagallis arvensis

Myrsine Family [Myrsinaceae]  
Formerly in: Primrose Family [Primulaceae]

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