A Walk in Fern Bluff Park
March 23 & 24, 2001 

Page 4: Scarlet Pimpernell (Anagallis arvensis)

Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

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My grateful thanks to Dr. Hugh Wilson, Professor, Dept. of Biology, Texas A&M University, and Wendy Gordon, a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Plant Biology at the University of Texas, for kindly identifying this flower for me. 

Scarlet Pimpernel is the only species of Anagallis found in North America. It is common in Europe, and in England it typically blooms in August and later. The English have amassed as many as twelve common names for it, including Shepherd's Weatherglass and Poor Man's Weatherglass. These both derive from the flower's reputation for closing before bad weather approaches. It is also called Shepherd's Clock, because the petals supposedly open promptly at 8 A.M. and close promptly at 3 P.M. (see "The History and Folklore of North American Wildflowers", by Timothy Coffey, 1993)

This plant has a long history as a medicinal herb. For example, Pliny spoke of its value in liver complaints. Its generic name Anagallis was given by Dioscorides, and is derived from the Greek Anagelao, signifying 'to laugh (aloud),' because it removes the depression that liver dysfunctions produce. 

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Archives of previous walks in the park: 12 May 2007 05 May 2007; 28 April 2007, 21 April 2007, 14 April 2007,  1 April 2007 Easter Egg Hunt; 24 March 2007,  17 March 2007; Nov. 03, 2001; April 04, 2001; March 25, 15, 10-11, 04, 2001; February 2418, 10, 2001

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Every walk in the park so far has begun with parking the car on Park Valley, next to the toddler playground. While walking between the curb and the toddler playground, this pretty orange flower popped up. The first one that came into view was so small it looked like a little fluff of rust-colored paper. Before long, several more had been spotted. They were not very obvious, but once the eye was keyed to look for them, they seemed to be all over.