Scarlet pimpernel is typically an annual or short-lived perennial species (3). It flowers from May to late August and is pollinated by visiting insects, which are attracted by means of bright purple hairs inside the flowers which apparently act as lures (5). When it is ripe, the fruit capsule at the centre of the flower splits open, with the top section hinging backwards to allow the release of the tiny seeds within (4). This plant was widely used in the past to treat toothache, liver problems, snake bites and kidney inflammation. As the names 'laughter bringer' and 'shepherd's joy' indicate, it was also used to reduce bouts of melancholia (4).
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