This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
The Scarlet Pimpernel, or Poor Man's Weather-glass, is one of those wild flowers with which every country-dweller is acquainted, for it has long enjoyed a reputation as a cheap barometer, in consequence of its habit of closing the petals over the essential organs on the approach of rain. The genus Anagallis belongs to the order Primulaceae, at whose characteristics we have already glanced (see page 2). It has a square stem, which lies along the ground and sends up many erect branches. The leaves are ovate, the margins entire, stalkless, usually borne in pairs, but occasionally in threes or fours. The flowers are produced singly, on very long and slender stalks, from the axils of the leaves. The sepals are narrow, sharp-pointed, almost as long as the corolla. When the flower has passed, their long stalks curve downwards with the globose seed-vessel. When these are ripe they open by a clean fissure all round, so that the upper half falls off and discloses the numerous seeds. There is a variety often found with blue flowers, which was formerly regarded as a distinct species, but experiments with the seeds have proved it to be a mere variety. One or other of these forms is common in all fields and wastes from May till November.
The Bog Pimpernel (A. tenella) is a distinct and very beautiful species. It has a creeping and rooting stem, with small broadly-ovate leaves on short stalks. The flower-stalks are shorter and stouter than in arvensis, and the sepals much shorter than the graceful pale-rosy funnel-shaped corolla, which is very large in proportion to the leaves and stem. It may be found in boggy places growing amid sphagnum-moss, and flowering in July and August. The name Anagallis is the old Greek name, and is made up of ana, again, and agallo, to adorn.
Pimpernel. Anagallis arvensis.
- Primulaceae. Chickweed.
Stellaria media. - Caryophylleae.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
To utilize a blank space we have printed the portrait of the lowly and ubiquitous Chickweed, a plant that has followed English pioneers wherever they have gone about the world. It is thoroughly known to all, but for particulars concerning it and the genus the reader is referred to page 62.