Anagallis arvensis (scarlet pimpernel)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Pathway Vectors
- Threatened Species
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Anagallis arvensis L. (1753)
Preferred Common Name
- scarlet pimpernel
Other Scientific Names
- Anagallis caerulea L. (1759)
- Anagallis coerulea Nathh.
- Anagallis foemina Miller
- Anagallis latifolia L. (1753)
- Anagallis mas Vill. (1787)
- Anagallis phoenicea Scop. (1772)
- Anagallis verticillata All. (1785)
International Common Names
- English: blue pimpernel; care-all; common pimpernel; poor man's weatherglass; red chickweed
- Spanish: coralillo; jaboncillo; murrajes; pilpis; pimpinela escarlata
- French: morgeline; morgeline d'ete; mouron des champs; mouron rouge
- Arabic: 'ayen el jamel
- Portuguese: escarlate; morriao vermelho; murriao
Local Common Names
- Algeria: lizireg; meridjana
- Brazil: escalarte
- Chile: pimpinela azul
- Croatia: krika poljska
- Czechoslovakia (former): drchnicka roini
- Denmark: rod arve
- Egypt: 'ain el-gamal; omm lebben; qonfooda; saboon gheit
- Finland: puna alpi
- Germany: Acker Gauchheil; Feld Gauchheil; Roter Gauchheil
- Hungary: mezel tikszem
- India: biliputi (Punjabi); krishnaneel
- Iran: bazrak vahshee
- Iraq: rmaimeeneh
- Italy: anagallide rossa; bellichina; mordi-gallina
- Japan: akabana aruri hakobe
- Lebanon: adhan el far el nabti; lubbayn; zaghila
- Macedonia: vidovcica crvena
- Mauritius: mouron
- Netherlands: gewoon guichelheil; guichelheil
- Norway: nonsblom; rodarve
- Pakistan: bili booti
- Poland: kurzyslad polny
- Slovenia: njivna kurja cesnjica
- South Africa: blouseblommetjie; rooimuur
- Sweden: rodarv; roedarv
- Taiwan: hwo-jin-gu
- Turkey: tarla farekulagi
- USA: poison chickweed; poisonweed; shepherd's clock; wink-a-peep
- USA/Hawaii: poisonous pimpernel
- Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): vidovcia
- ANGAR (Anagallis arvensis)
- ANGCO (Anagallis coerulea)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Primulales
- Family: Primulaceae
- Genus: Anagallis
- Species: Anagallis arvensis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page The genus Anagallis contains about 28 species. They are of widespread origin, with many from the European-Mediterranean region, but only A. arvensis is a widespread weed. Two naturally occurring subspecies or colour forms are common: subsp. phoenicia with red flowers; and subsp. caerulea (or coerulea) with blue flowers. Both are extremely variable genetically and morphologically, and many other subspecies have been described. Gasquez and Compoint (1978) and Compoint and Gasquez (1980) discuss the taxonomy of the various forms. The subspecies hybridize readily, and deliberate horticultural hybridization and selection have resulted in a wide range of intermediate flower colours including mauve, pink and white. When naturalized as a weed, A. arvensis subspecies soon revert to either red or blue.
The meaning of Anagallis is obscure, but may mean unpretentious; arvensis refers to its frequent occurrence in fields.
The chromosome number for both subspecies is normally 2n = 40 (Clapham et al., 1987), but polyploidy is believed to occur in some varieties.
DescriptionTop of page A. arvensis is typically a much branched, prostrate, annual herb with a fibrous root system, although the generally weak stems can also be ascending or even erect and up to 50 cm tall.
Dense mats of weak quadrangular stems usually spread outwards from a central base to cover up to 0.25 m². They are hairless and dotted with small dark glands, and have short internodes.
The leaves occur in opposite pairs or rarely in whorls of three. They are ovate, stalkless, 5 to 25 mm long, with rounded bases, smooth margins and bluntly pointed tips. They are smooth and hairless, densely dotted beneath with small dark glands, and usually dark-green.
The small orange-red, red, blue or occasionally pink or white flowers occur singly in the leaf axils on slender stalks, which hold the flowers erect whilst open but bend downwards in fruit. Each flower has a small, green, 5-pointed calyx, five oval or rounded petals 3 to 5 mm long, and five erect stamens around the unbranched central style.
The fruits are rounded, papery capsules 3 to 5 mm across, green at first and ripening to brown before the top breaks away to release the numerous seeds. Each seed is about 1 mm long, brown, angled and finely pitted.
The seedlings exhibit epigeal germination. The hypocotyl is 2 to 10 mm long, and the spreading cotyledons ovate to elliptic and 2 to 5 mm long. A single stem with small opposite leaves usually develops above them, with lateral branches developing in all leaf axils.
DistributionTop of page A. arvensis originated in Europe and has been spread, both deliberately as an ornamental and accidentally as a weed, throughout the world. It occurs throughout Europe, except for the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Spitzbergen and northern Russia (Ferguson, 1972). It probably now occurs in all temperate, subtropical and tropical countries, but is principally a weed in cool to warm temperate countries, and in the cooler areas of tropical highlands.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Afghanistan||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|China||Widespread||Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991; Tang, 1991|
|India||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991|
|-Bihar||Present||Singh et al., 1996|
|-Gujarat||Present||Bhattacharyya and Pandya, 1996|
|-Haryana||Present||Balyan and Malik, 1992; Malik et al., 1993|
|-Indian Punjab||Present||Mehra et al., 1993|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Singh and Khosla, 1989|
|-Madhya Pradesh||Present||Kurchainia et al., 1995|
|-Maharashtra||Present||Sadekar et al., 1996|
|-Rajasthan||Present||Porwal and Singh, 1993|
|-Uttar Pradesh||Present||Tripathi et al., 1993; Singh and Singh, 1996|
|-West Bengal||Present||Mukhopadhyay and Duary, 1995|
|Iran||Widespread||Bischof, 1978; Holm et al., 1991|
|Iraq||Present||Hassawy et al., 1968; Holm et al., 1991|
|Israel||Present||Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Japan||Present||Ishimine et al., 1982|
|-Honshu||Present||Numata et al., 1975|
|-Kyushu||Present||Numata et al., 1975|
|-Shikoku||Present||Numata et al., 1975|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|Lebanon||Present||Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Oman||Present||Chaudhary et al., 1981|
|Pakistan||Widespread||Fazali and Khan, 1991; Holm et al., 1991; Ghafoor and Shad, 1995|
|Saudi Arabia||Present||Chaudhary et al., 1981; Chaudhary and Zawawi, 1983; Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Taiwan||Present||National, 1968; Horng and Leu, 1980; Holm et al., 1991|
|Turkey||Present||Bischof, 1978; Holm et al., 1991; Tepe et al., 1994|
|United Arab Emirates||Present||Chaudhary et al., 1981|
|Yemen||Present||Chaudhary et al., 1981|
|Cape Verde||Present||Duarte, 1995; Figueiredo, 1995|
|Congo Democratic Republic||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|Egypt||Present||El Bially & El Samie, 1996; Shams El Din & Salwau, 1994; Holm et al., 1991|
|Ethiopia||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991; Sahile et al., 1992|
|Kenya||Present||Ivens, 1967; Hepper, 1983; Holm et al., 1991|
|Mauritius||Present||Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Morocco||Present||Holm et al., 1991; Tanji and Taleb, 1994|
|Senegal||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991|
|South Africa||Present||Wells et al., 1986; Holm et al., 1991|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Siverio et al., 2011|
|Tunisia||Widespread||Moens et al., 1980; Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Canada||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|Mexico||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991|
|USA||Widespread||Lorenzi and Jeffery, 1987; Holm et al., 1991|
|-Hawaii||Present||Neal, 1965; HASELWOOD and MOTTER, 1966; Holm et al., 1991|
|Argentina||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|Brazil||Present||Costa et al., 1984; Holm et al., 1991|
|-Rio Grande do Sul||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|-Santa Catarina||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|Chile||Present||de Vellejo, 1980; Holm et al., 1991|
|Peru||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|Belgium||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991|
|Cyprus||Present||Zannetos et al., 1976|
|Czechoslovakia (former)||Present||Koblihova, 1989; Holm et al., 1991|
|Denmark||Present||Andreasen et al., 1996|
|France||Widespread||Barralis and Chadoeuf, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Germany||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991; Milton et al., 1997|
|Greece||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991|
|Hungary||Present||Hunyadi, 1973; Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Italy||Present||Holm et al., 1991; Borin et al., 1995|
|Poland||Present||Kwiatoska, 1995; Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Portugal||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991|
|Russian Federation||Present||Hiepko, 1988; Holm et al., 1991|
|Spain||Present||Garcia-Torres and Vazquez-Cobo, 1979; Holm et al., 1991|
|Switzerland||Present||Beuret and Caputa, 1983|
|UK||Widespread||Holm et al., 1991; Stevens et al., 1994|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Present||Drazic and Glusac, 1991; Holm et al., 1991|
|Australia||Present||Holm et al., 1991|
|-Australian Northern Territory||Present||Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-New South Wales||Widespread||Hnatiuk, 1990; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-Queensland||Widespread||Hnatiuk, 1990; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-South Australia||Widespread||Lazarides et al.,1997; Whibley and Christensen, 1982; Hnatiuk, 1990|
|-Tasmania||Widespread||Hnatiuk, 1990; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-Victoria||Widespread||Wilding et al., 1986; Hnatiuk, 1990; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|-Western Australia||Widespread||Hnatiuk, 1990; Hussey et al., 1997; Lazarides et al., 1997|
|New Caledonia||Present||MacKee, 1985|
|New Zealand||Widespread||Taylor, 1980; Holm et al., 1991; Dastgheib and Popay, 1995|
HabitatTop of page A. arvensis requires bare soil for germination, and is therefore only common in disturbed places. It requires moist soil but does not tolerate waterlogging, and for successful growth requires ample sunlight without undue shading. It tolerates ground frost to -10° C, but not frozen soil. The plant grows in a wide variety of soils so long as they are moist and well drained, and thrives near the sea and in sandy soils. The species appears most commonly as a winter annual in warmer climates and as a summer annual in colder areas and situations.
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page In addition to the crops listed, A. arvensis may occur as a minor weed of any crop which is grown within its range. It also occurs in gardens, meadows, turf, field borders and other disturbed uncultivated places including native vegetation.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Allium cepa (onion)||Liliaceae||Other|
|Amaranthus hybridus (smooth pigweed)||Amaranthaceae||Other|
|Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Avena sativa (oats)||Poaceae||Main|
|Beta vulgaris (beetroot)||Chenopodiaceae||Main|
|Brassica juncea var. juncea (Indian mustard)||Brassicaceae||Other|
|Brassica napus var. napus (rape)||Brassicaceae||Other|
|Brassica oleracea (cabbages, cauliflowers)||Brassicaceae||Other|
|Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Chamomilla recutita (common chamomile)||Asteraceae||Other|
|Cicer arietinum (chickpea)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (globe artichoke)||Asteraceae||Other|
|Daucus carota (carrot)||Apiaceae||Other|
|Fragaria ananassa (strawberry)||Rosaceae||Other|
|Glycine max (soyabean)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Helianthus annuus (sunflower)||Asteraceae||Main|
|Hordeum vulgare (barley)||Poaceae||Main|
|Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)||Convolvulaceae||Main|
|Lens culinaris subsp. culinaris (lentil)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Linum usitatissimum (flax)||Main|
|Medicago sativa (lucerne)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Mentha arvensis (Corn mint)||Lamiaceae||Other|
|Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Oryza sativa (rice)||Poaceae||Main|
|Pimpinella anisum (aniseed)||Apiaceae||Other|
|Pisum sativum (pea)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)||Poaceae||Other|
|Scorzonera hispanica (oyster plant)||Asteraceae||Other|
|Secale cereale (rye)||Poaceae||Other|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Main|
|Trifolium repens (white clover)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Triticum aestivum (wheat)||Poaceae||Main|
|Vicia faba (faba bean)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Vitis vinifera (grapevine)||Vitaceae||Other|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page The reproduction of A. arvensis is entirely by seed.
Shoot and root length, node and leaf number, and shoot dry weight all vary with both genotype and growth conditions, making it difficult to draw uniform conclusions about the responses of Anagallis arvensis to environmental conditions. Indian genotypes have been found to grow well under 50-100% sunlight, with lower light intensities being better tolerated during early growth.
Variations in genotype and phenotype result in large differences in seed production per plant; from 900 under field conditions in Britain to 250,000 in a glasshouse. Up to 2480 viable seeds have been recorded per square metre of soil after 8 years of cropping and 1 year of pasture in Britain, and in a separate observation seeds have been shown to remain viable in field soils for up to 10 years (Holm et al., 1977).
Dormancy in viable seeds relies on complex interrelationships between intrinsic and extrinsic factors, ensuring prolonged dormancy of some seeds whilst others germinate almost throughout the year, although only those germinating under favourable conditions may be expected to survive and reproduce. Germination in different genotypes has been shown to be dependent on various combinations of light and temperature. The species is capable of germination between 2 and 25°C, and optimum germination has been recorded in light at 10-20°C (Holm et al., 1977).
Although flowering in A. arvensis is usually initiated by lengthening days, this response is variable and may be modified by temperature so that some plants may flower under a wide range of daylengths.
The plant reacts to increasing soil nutrient status with greater and more vigorous growth.
The biology and ecology of A. arvensis are discussed in more detail in Holm et al. (1977) and Reddy et al. (1989).
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page No information is available on the natural enemies of A. arvensis, other than it being an alternate host for various crop diseases (see Economic Impact).
ImpactTop of page The low growth and small root system of A. arvensis suggest that it is not a very competitive weed in most crops, and this is supported by a number of studies in different countries. It may, however, germinate early in spring before other weeds (and crops) become established, develop into dense masses, and thereby suppress the early growth of slow growing crops.
A. arvensis has often been considered to be poisonous to stock, but with little supporting evidence from the field. Indoor feeding tests show potential toxicity in some animals, but since it is selectively left in pastures by grazing animals it is probably unpalatable. There is a recent record of buffalo and cattle deaths in India after field grazing of A. arvensis (Sadekar et al., 1996). Cases of human dermatitis have been reported after handling the plant.
The seeds of A. arvensis contaminate small-seeded field crops such as lucerne and clovers.
A. arvensis is an alternative host for a range of other pests, including beet yellows closterovirus (Stevens et al., 1994), Alternaria brassicae (Ansari et al., 1990), Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Singh and Singh, 1986), Botrytis cinerea (Madhu-Meeta et al., 1986) and root knot nematodes (Alam, 1981).
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
|Threatened Species||Conservation Status||Where Threatened||Mechanism||References||Notes|
|Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Hawaii scaleseed)||USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered species||Hawaii||Competition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alteration||US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Impact mechanisms
- Competition - monopolizing resources
UsesTop of page All subspecies of A. arvensis have been used both as ornamental plants and as parents for hybridization to produce new cultivars.
The plant was formerly also used medicinally in Europe (Fogelfors, 1984), and is still so used in parts of India (Mukhopadhyay and Duary, 1995). It is apparently eaten as a salad and vegetable in Sweden (Fogelfors, 1984).
Uses ListTop of page
- Host of pest
Human food and beverage
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page A. pumila, widespread in the tropics and occurring occasionally as a weed, can be distinguished from A. arvensis by its alternate leaves and whitish flowers which occur in leafy racemes towards the ends of the stems.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
A. arvensis can usually be controlled by careful inter-row and interplant cultivation, although repeated cultivation may be necessary throughout its growing season. Competition from taller crops is important in reducing its competitiveness. Deep weed-free mulches will generally prevent further germination.
A. arvensis is poorly controlled by many of the earlier selective herbicides that are safe to use in cereal crops, although spraying young seedlings with either 2,4-D or MCPA will give some control (Ivens, 1967).
A considerable amount of work with newer herbicides (especially in India) has shown that the following are safe and effective in appropriate crops: aziprotryne applied post-emergence in cabbage (Dastgheib and Popay, 1995); chlortoluron applied post-emergence achieved 90% control in wheat (Fazali and Khan, 1991); cyanazine + linuron gave 95% control in peas (Pisum sativum) (Hussain et al., 1990); fluchloralin in chickpea (Maliwal and Jain, 1991; Singh and Bajpai, 1992); fluroxypyr gave excellent control when applied post emergence in wheat (Balyan and Malik, 1992); isoproturon applied pre-emergence in wheat (Yadav et al., 1995) and mustard (Tiwari and Kurchainia, 1993). Various other recommendations are listed below:
methabenzthiazuron (Maliwal and Jain, 1991);
metoxuron (Tiwari and Kurchainia, 1993);
metribuzin (Bains et al., 1980);
metsulfuron-methyl (Pandey and Singh, 1994);
nitrofen (Sharma et al., 1988);
oxadiazon (Singh and Bajpai, 1992; Tiwari and Kurchainia, 1993; Kurchainia et al., 1995);
pendimethalin (Hussain et al., 1990, Singh and Bajpai, 1992);
pendimethalin + oxyflurfen (Scheffer and Hume, 1988, Shams El Din and Salwau, 1994);
terbutron methyl (Pandey and Singh, 1994);
terbutryn + terbuthylazine (Shams El Din and Salwau, 1994);
tribenuron (Malik et al., 1993).
Recommendations for herbicide use in many crops in France are provided by Mamarot and Rodriguez (1997). These include, for example, aclonifen and bentazone.
Registrations for A. arvensis control in Australia include norflurazon, glufosinate-ammonium, bromoxynil + diflufenican, MCPA + terbutryn, metribuzin, chlorthal, chloradiazon, and DSMA + MCPA (Hamilton, 1997).
There have been no attempts at biological control of A. arvensis.
ReferencesTop of page
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Bischof F, 1978. Common weeds from Iran, Turkey, the near East and North Africa; paintings by Ellen Mostafawy. (Schriftenreihe der GTZ [Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit, Nr. 49]). Common weeds from Iran, Turkey, the near East and North Africa; paintings by Ellen Mostafawy. (Schriftenreihe der GTZ [Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit, Nr. 49]). Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH. Dag-Hammarskjold-Weg 1, D-6236 Eschborn 1 German Federal Republic, 224 pp.
Borin M, Zanin G, Zuin MC, Cook HF, Lee HC, 1995. The comparison of seed banks in conventional and ridge-tilled soils in north-eastern Italy. In: Soil Management in Sustainable Agriculture. Proceedings, Third International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture, Wye College, University of London. Ashford, UK: Wye College Press.
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Costa RAS, Brauner GL, Silveira Junior P, 1984. Chemical weed control in sugarbeet crops (Beta vulgaris L.). Anais da 2. Reuniao Tecnica Anual da Beterraba Acucareira. Pelotas, Brazil: UEPp de Pelotas, 135-138.
Dastgheib F, Popay AJ, 1995. Weed control in cabbages with aziprotryne, clethodim and their combination. Proceedings of the 48th New Zealand Plant Protection Conference. Rotorua, New Zealand: New Zealand Plant Protection Society 331-332.
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Sahile G, Tanner DG, Zewdie L, 1992. A study of weed emergence patterns in the bread wheat producing agro-ecological zones of southeastern Ethiopia. The seventh regional wheat workshop for eastern, central and southern Africa [edited by Tanner, D.G.; Mwangi, W.] Mexico; CIMMYT, 503-509
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Singh SS, Ehsanullah M, Samarjeet Singh, Mishra SS, 1996. Weed control in wheat (Triticum aestivum) under rice (Oryza sativa)-wheat system of north Bihar. Indian Journal of Agronomy, 41(2):243-246; 4 ref.
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