Category: Primulaceae

  • Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)

    Also classified in the genus Lysimachia. These are unmistakable flowers, little bursts of scarlet popping out of sidewalk cracks and dry banks. They open only in fine weather and close, apparently in response to a drop in barometric pressure, if a storm is coming: thus another common name, “Poor Man’s Weatherglass.” These pictures were taken June 10 along the Mon on the South Side—in fine weather, as the flowers are happy to tell you.

    Baroness Orczy’s crusading fop took his name from these flowers.

    For a fuller description, see the Anagallis arvensis reference page.

  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

    Also called Moneywort, from the rounded leaves. A garden creeper that can be invasive when it escapes the garden; these patches were blooming in Salamander Park, Fox Chapel, in early June. The plant looks a little like Lesser Celandine, but blooms long after the Lesser Celandine has vanished. Note the creeping stems with short-petioled, opposite roundish heart-shaped leaves and the five-petaled flowers.

    Gray describes the genus and the species, which he puts in the Lysimastrum section of the genus:

    LYSIMÀCHIA [Tourn.] L. LOOSESTRIFE. Calyx 5-6-parted. Corolla rotate, the divisions entire, convolute in bud. Filaments commonly monadelphous at base; anthers oblong or oval. Capsule few-several-seeded. — Leafy-stemmed perennials, with herbage commonly glandular-dotted. (In honor of King Lysimachus, or from lysis, a release from, and mache, strife.)

    LYSIMASTRUM Duby. Corolla yellow, rotate, very deeply parted, and with no teeth between the lobes; stamens more or less monadelphous, often unequal; leaves opposite or whorled, or some abnormally alternate.

    Flowers 2-3 cm. broad, solitary in the axils of ordinary leaves; corolla not dark-dotted nor streaked; filaments slightly monadelphous.

    L. nummularia L. (Moneywort.) Smooth; stems trailing and creeping; leaves roundish, small, short-petioled; divisions of the corolla broadly ovate, obtuse, longer than the lance-ovate calyx-lobes and stamens. — Escaped from gardens into damp ground in some places. June-Aug. (Introd. from Eu.)

  • Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)


    This is a marvelous plant. It blooms all summer in the poorest soil, even in the cracks of sidewalks; it closes when bad weather is coming, apparently in response to the change in atmospheric pressure; and it rescues French aristocrats from the guillotine.