Fumaria officinalis   Common Fumitory CC DD N

Fumaria officinalis whole Fumaria officinalis whole

The camera lies.

This is a greyish green leaved plant with not very conspicuous flowers about 1 cm long at most. It grows typically as a weed on allotments and in waste places. The plant is often straggly, mostly dull green with a few flowers and is far less impressive than this close-up photo shows.

As suggested by the species name officinalis, this plant was used for medicinal purposes and has been known since Roman times. In small quantities it was thought to help the skin, the liver and even the eyes but it is poisonous and a sedative and so had to be used carefully.

F. officinalis is common through England, most of Wales, southern Scotland and eastern Ireland and is dotted about elsewhere. Only in the far north highlands of Scotland do records decrease markedly.

Helsby, Cheshire 24th September 2004

Added on December 11th 2004, updated 17th January 2009, updated 31st March 2010

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