My Scarlet Pimpernel flowers
It appears that I have lost my little weather forecasters. The contractors have sprayed the gravel border where they were growing to kill off the weeds. Last year I had a return of about 6 or 7 plants but this time I can see nothing growing. Unusually this tiny plant and flower Scarlet Pimpernel Angallis arvensis had many nicknames because of its weather foretelling properties. At the first sign of dampness or rain to come it closes up. From this tendency it is AKA Poor man’s weather-glass; Change of the weather; and Shepherd’s sundial.
A little flower of only about 5/16ths of an inch (6 to 7 mm) in size at maximum. Yet when we look into macro pictures of it its beauty becaomes apparent.
Lying close to the ground all that we normally see is a little dot of red and a few green stands of foliage
The buds are insignificant.
but a closer look at the flower with its semi-fluorescent centre shows what a little beauty it really can be if we look closer.
Of this plant and flower Culpeper says:—
Government and virtues.
It is a gallant solar herb, of a cleansing attractive quality, whereby it draws forth thorns or splinters, or other such like things gotten into the flesh; and put up into the nostrils, purges the head; and Galen saith also, they have a drying faculty, whereby they are good to solder the lips of wounds, and to cleanse foul ulcers. The distilled water or juice is much esteemed by French dames to cleanse the skin from any roughness and deformity, or discolouring thereof; being boiled in wine and given to drink, it is a good remedy against the plague, and other pestilential fevers, if the party after taking it be warm in his bed, and sweat for two hours after, and use the same for twice at least. It helps also all stingings and bitings of venomous beasts, or mad dogs, being used inwardly, and applied outwardly. The same also opens obstructions of the liver, and is very available against the infirmities of the reins. It provokes urine, and helps to expel the stone and gravel out of the kidneys and bladder, and helps much in all inward pains and ulcers. The decoction, or distilled water, is no less effectual to be applied to all wounds that are fresh and green, or old, filthy, fretting, and running ulcers, which it very effectually cures in a short space. A little mixed with the juice, and dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from cloudy mists, or thick films which grow over them, and hinder the sight. It helps the tooth-ache, being dropped into the ear on a contrary side of the pain. It is also effectual to ease the pains of the hemorrhoids or piles.
SO ---- if by some chance you should have this growing in or near your garden - Treasure it - A glance at it if you are going off for the day will tell you
If the weather will be fine the flower will be open. If it is closed there is rain about.
This forecast is almost as certain as the Mist on the moor one.