Saturday, September 19, 2009

Magic of the Hemispheres

Remember those rotating globes of the world that used to be in every school classroom? I recall having a miniature version given to me as a Christmas present by parents who probably hoped it would sharpen up my performance in geography classes. The globe separated around its equator into two hemispheres, just like this scarlet pimpernel Anagallis arvensis seed capsule, which separates and releases a shower of seeds from within it you gently squeeze it. For the plant in flower, see

Botanically, this form of capsule is called a pyxidium - useful to remember if you've got an x to get rid of in a game of scrabble. Plantains (Plantago spp.) have a similar arrangement in their rows of minute capsules, although they're smaller and less aesthetically pleasing.


  1. I remember those globes in school lol

    That certainly has a lot of seeds packed in there.

  2. This plant seems to have seeded itself all over my garden Keith - probably from seeds stuck to my shoes.

  3. Each year the Scarlet Pimpernel pops up here on our county council estate, and before setting seed, they get mowed over. Very sad.

    The globes are still in my mind, yes.

  4. That's a shame, Yoke, they do the same to all the speedwell on the verges around here. There's a blue variety of scarlet pimpernel (a contradiction in terms, if ever there was)that I once found in the Welsh Borders, growing around the edge of agricultural land.