12 June 2013

Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)

Fumitories are fabulous little plants. They are members of the poppy family (Papaveraceae), but unlike true poppies they have  bilaterally-symmetrical flowers with distinctive upper and lower petals. There are 10 species in Britain (+ 2 rare casual species), but you are only likely to come across 5 in our area. Of these, Common Ramping-fumitory (Fumaria muralis) is probably the most common (not to be confused with Common Fumitory – see below). Others here include White Ramping-fumitory (Fumaria capreolata), Tall Ramping-fumitory (Fumaria bastardii), Purple Ramping-fumitory (Fumaria purpurea) and Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis). From the records, Common Fumitory appears to be uncommon in West Galmorgan, but it may be under recorded. There’s a nice population on the Kenfig Industrial Estate, at the edge of Neath Port Talbot. It's not difficult to identify and one of its most distinctive and distinguishing features is the spoon shaped lower petal (should be clear in photo below). 

None of the other fumitory species in our area have such distinctive spoons – it’s the pom of the fumitory world!

1 comment:

Barry Stewart said...

Fumitory is a common weed in our garden, yet I've just checked and I can't believe that I've never recorded what species it is we have. I'll look later...