Anagalis arvensis - Scarlet Pimpernel (Primulaceae)

Scarlet pimpernel - close-up of flowers

This low-growing annual wildflower has square stems, and its oval pointed leaves are black-dotted underneath. It is a member of the primrose family, as indeed are the Yellow Pimpernel and its close relative Creeping Jenny.

Scarlet pimpernel flowers fully open at 2pm in mid summer

The scarlet pimpernel blooms from May right through to October, but it is usually at its best in June, July and August. The flowers, which are rarely more than 12mm across, open mid morning and close again long before the sun begins to set.

Scarlet pimpernel... but these are bright blue

Occasionally you may find blue-petalled variants of this wild flower.

Well drained, sandy places are the favoured habitat of this lovely little flower, which thrives in cultivated soil. We have also seen it growing in meadows beside spate rivers in Wales.