Fumaria (weeds)

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Fumaria officinalis (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Luis Nunes Alberto
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fumaria (weeds) Linnaeus - (fumitory, earthsmoke)

This genus is widely distributed and includes 50-60 species of herbs. Some of them are regarded as agricultural weeds like fumitory (Fumaria officinalis). Fumitory originates from Europe and the Mediterranean region, but has spread to other continents. It competes with cereals and low growing field crops.

Fumaria species are sometimes assigned to a separate family, the Fumariaceae. They typically grow to a height of around 50 cm and may be semi-climbing. The flowers are often self-pollinating. The seeds are usually 2-3 mm large and spread as grain contaminants or with agricultural equipment.

The name Fumaria derives from the Latin words fumus terrae (= smoke of the earth). Various explanations exist, what the name refers to, the smoky appearance of the leaves, the translucent colour of the flowers, or the smoky odour of the plants.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: