Common Fumitory - Fumaria officinalis

    Description

    Weak, low to short scrambling plant, leaf segments flat. Racemes longer than their stalks, flowers numerous, purplish-pink with a reddish-black apex. 7 to 9 mm long. Sepal with irregular teeth.

    Identification difficulty
    ID guidance

    Ref. key in Stace.   This is very difficult genus that can't be identified with confidence from a photo.  The species are all very similar, but also variable within a species.  Determination depends on fine differences in flower, sepal and bract shape and size.  In addition, Stace says 'it is essential to base determinations on well-grown non-shaded material in early or mid flowering season.  Late or shade-grown plants may be very atypical, with short paler petals, longer narrower sepals, relatively long bracts and less or more recurved fruiting pedicels. . . '  

    Recording advice

    This is probably the correct identification for the majority of Fumaria found in VC55, but because of the presence of rarer but very similar species, it is best recorded as the genus only, unless it has been checked by a County Recorder.

    Habitat

    A plant of disturbed and bare soil and cultivated land.

    When to see it

    May to October.

    Life History

    Annual.

    UK Status

    Found throughout Britain, often common.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly frequent in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 205 of the 617 tetrads.

    Listed as subsp. officinalis in the current Checklist (Jeeves, 2011), and as Alien, Occasional

     

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map