Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)

Photo: (c) Maarten Deprez CC BY-SA 3.0

Family: Primulaceae

Growth Habit: A sprawling plant growing up to 600 mm wide, and 200 mm high. The leaves are paired, the pairs being at right angles to each other.  The first leaves are 5 to 10 mm long, hairless, and initially sessile though as they age a short petiole develops.  There are usually black spots present on the under surface of the early leaves.  The plant does not form a rosette. The plant initially has an erect habit but becomes prostrate as it increases in size. Commonly found on bare ground and readily identified by its many bright orange, or occasionally deep blue, flowers. Stems are square in cross section and carry oval shaped leaves.

Type of Plant: Scarlet Pimpernel is an annual herb capable of producing seeds within a week of germination.

Flowers: The Scarlet Pimpernel flower has 5 petals and is usually bright orange in colour, although occasionally it is deep blue to purple.

Fruit/Seed: A smooth round capsule containing several small seeds.

Dispersal: Seed falls from the parent plant and may be moved short distances by wind and water, and with any soil movement. Seed germinates from spring through to autumn.

Distribution: Occasionally Scarlet Pimpernel occurs in arable crops, but usually it is found in waste areas and gardens.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania

Weed Impact:

  • The plant has minimal economic impact, however it is suspected of causing some stock poisoning.
  • It can quickly colonise any bare areas of soil.

For further information contact the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania.

Control Methods:

  • Mulching is good for small infestations such as home gardens.
  • Herbicides registered in Tasmania include dicamba, MCPA and glyphosate.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.