Stems. - Low, spreading. Leaves. - Opposite, ovate, set close to the stem. Flowers. - Red, occasionally blue or white, growing singly from the axils of the leaves. Calyx. - Five-parted. Corolla. - Five-parted, wheel-shaped. Stamens. - Five, with bearded filaments. Pistil. - One.
This flower is found in sandy fields, being noted for its sensitiveness to the weather. It folds its petals at the approach of rain, and fails to open at all on a wet or cloudy day. Even in fine weather it closes in the early afternoon and "sleeps" till the next morning. Its ripened seeds are of value as food for many song-birds. It was thought at one time to be serviceable in liver complaints, which reputed virtue may have given rise to the old couplet :
No ear hath heard, no tongue can tell The virtues of the pimpernel.