Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Scarlet pimpernel

1001. My wife recalls from her time as an evacuee in the war, in Somerset, using the scarlet pimpernel (which was there known as ‘the poor man’s weather glass’) to foretell the weather, i.e. open flower for sunny weather [Horley, Surrey, January 1999].

2. Scarlet pimpernel – tell not the weather but the time, hence name shepherd’s weather-glass – they close at mid-day (true) [Tickhill, South Yorkshire, February 1998].

3. Back in the early fifties a lady used to walk the roadsides and lanes always with a bicycle with a basket on the front into which she would put hedgerow and field wildflowers. Scarlet pimpernel, she told me, was better than cold tea for sore eyes, and also good against stings [Barnstaple, Devon, May 1991].

Images: main, University of Bath campus, Somerset, August 2014; inset, Coulsdon South station, London Borough of Croydon, June 2015.