Fumaria officinalis L. - Common fumitory.

Systematic position.

Family Fumariaceae DC., genus Fumaria L.


Drug fumitory.

Biological group.

Annual or facultative biennial germiniparous weed.

Morphology and biology.

Plant is blue-green, covered with a layer of wax, with taproot. Stem is hairless, prostrate, ascending or erect, ramified, up to 30 cm in height, somewhat grooved, sometimes reddish tinged. Cotyledons are slender, linear, long, acuminate; hypocotyl light red. Leaves are tender, petiolate, pinnate, pinnae palmatified and also petiolate. Flowers are zygomorphic, oblong, 7-9 mm long, narrow, rose-violet; corolla tip dark red to black; flowers aggregated in erect heavily-blossomed racemes. Fruit is one-seeded nutlet about 2 mm in diameter, rounded, heavily bulged-in at the top, from straw-yellow and greenish-gray to grayish-brown and brown, dull. Seeds are ovate, rugged, reddish-brown. Flowering period is May-June, fruiting period is July-August. The maximal fruitfulness of one plant is 15,000 seeds. Seeds maintain germinability in soil for 3-5 years.


Nearly the whole Europe, except tundra zone and northern taiga, the Mediterranean area, Asia Minor, North Africa. European part of the former USSR except Arctic regions, Crimea, the Caucasus, Western and Eastern (seldom) Siberia.


Prefers friable, nutrient-rich loams, usually low in lime. Seeds emerge at low temperatures, optimum 18-20°C.

Economic significance.

Infests grain and mainly tilled crops, fodder grasses, flax; occurs in kitchen gardens, orchards, near habitations, on fallow lands, along roads, railway embankments. Control measures include early pre-winter plowing, inter-row cultivation of tilled crops, removing the stubble, chemical weeding.

Reference citations:

Agaev M.G., ed. 1988. Main field-weed plants of the Leningrad Region. In: The catalogue of VIR world collection of VIR. Issue 468. Leningrad: VIR. 32-34 pp. (In Russian)
Anonymous. 1996. Weeds on sugar beet. Berlin: Hoehst Schering AgrEvo GmbH. 242 pp. (In German, English, Russian, Ukrainian)
Melnichuk O.S., Kovalivska G.M. 1972. Atlas of the most widespread weeds of the Ukraine. Kiev: Urozhay. 31 p. (In Ukrainian)
Shishkin B.K., ed. 1937. Flora of the USSR. Moscow-Leningrad: AN SSSR. V. 7: 713. (In Russian)

© T.D. Sokolova.


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