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Common Fumitory

This is the most common of several types of Fumitory which have a climbing habit over other plants in field margins and on light soils. The common fumitory is an herbaceous annual and a member of the poppy family.

A fragile looking plant with feathery greyish green leaves with flower spikes consisting of about 20 tubular pink flowers. Each individual flower is 7-8mm in length, and is pale at the base, finishing at the tip with a darker pink, nearer to purple.

The leaves are asymmetrical, pinnate, with three to five sets of leaves each lobed into three smaller sections.

The whole plant has a floppy straggly appearance which needs the support of other plants, otherwise it creeps over the ground.

These are to be found more frequently in the East of Scotland, but less common in the Southwest.

The fumitory derives its name from the smoky or ‘fumy’ translucence of the flowers, which gave it the name Fumus Terrae or Smoke of the Earth back in the 13th Century. The plant is mildly toxic, though once it was thought to be a herbal remedy for skin conditions.

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