Scarlet Pimpernel - Lysimachia arvensis

Alternative names
Anagallis arvensis
Description

Low prostrate or ascending plant with square stems.  Leaves mostly opposite, oval, pointed with black gland dots beneath, unstalked.  Flowers are 4 to 7 mm diameter, petals with hairy margin, often slightly toothed at apex.  The flowers are usually orangey-scarlet (f. arvensis), but sometimes  blue (f. azurea), pink lilac (f. lilacina) or white (f. pallida).  Care needs to be taken when identifying the blue form (f. azurea) as there is a very similar blue species Lysimachia foemina which can only be reliably separated by detailed examination. The flowers close up around 3pm.

Similar Species

The blue Lysimachia arvensis subsp. foemina has been raised to species level as Lysimachia foemina

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Care needs to be taken when identifying the blue form (f. azurea) as there is a very similar blue species Lysimachia foemina and the two can only be reliably separated by detailed examination.

Habitat

Cultivated, disturbed and waste ground, pathways and gardens.

When to see it

May to October.

Life History

Annual.

UK Status

Fairly common throughout Britain, but mainly coastal in the far north.

VC55 Status

Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

In the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011) the scarlet subspecies is listed as native, occasional.

The similar blue species Lysimachia foemina is listed as Alien (archaeophyte) and is on the Rare Plant Register.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map

MAP KEY:

Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map