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Common Ramping Fumitory

Fumaria muralis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, hedgerows, walls, wasteland.

Pink, 4 petals
Flowers appear in spikes of 12 to 15. The flower cluster is shorter than the stalk which leads to it. The slender, tubular flowers are pink with a dark red tip. The flowers of the similar looking Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) have darker tips. The lower petal is slightly broader towards the tip. The frilled wings (sepals) are white and toothed (mainly near the base) with a green centre. The flowers each measure 9 to 11mm long. Those of Common Fumitory are about 7 to 8mm long.
The green, stalked fruit is globular with a roundish top. The bract of the fruit is about half the length of the stalk.
A weak and straggly annual plant with greyish-green, 1 to 3-pinnate, deeply lobed leaves. The leaf segments are broad and flat. The leaves are similar in appearance to those of Creeping Corydalis (Ceratocapnos claviculata).
Other Names:
Wall Fumitory.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Fumaria muralis, commonly known as wall fumitory, is a species of flowering plant in the Papaveraceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia and it is also found in many other parts of the world as an introduced species. It is an annual or biennial plant that typically grows to 20-60 cm tall. The leaves are delicate and divided into many small, finger-like segments and the plant produces small pink or white flowers in large clusters. It blooms in Spring and early Summer, often growing in rocky or walled areas from which it gets its common name. Like other fumitory species, Fumaria muralis has a history of use in traditional medicine, particularly for treating skin conditions such as eczema, and for its diuretic and laxative effects. However, it is also toxic in high doses and should be used under medical supervision.


Fumaria muralis, commonly known as Common Ramping Fumitory or Wall Fumitory, is a small herbaceous annual plant that belongs to the family Papaveraceae. It is native to Europe and North Africa, but it has also been introduced to other regions of the world. Common Ramping Fumitory is a common weed that grows in disturbed areas such as gardens, fields, roadsides, and waste places.


The plant grows up to 20-60 cm in height and has slender, branching stems that are green or reddish-brown. The leaves are finely divided and arranged alternately along the stem, giving the plant a delicate appearance. The flowers are small, pink or purplish-pink, and arranged in elongated clusters that resemble spikes. They bloom from March to September and are pollinated by insects.


Common Ramping Fumitory has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The plant contains several alkaloids and flavonoids that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and diuretic properties. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin diseases, digestive problems, and respiratory infections. However, it is important to note that self-medication with plants should always be done with caution, and under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Common Ramping Fumitory is also used as a culinary herb in some cultures. The leaves and young shoots are added to salads, soups, and stews, and are said to have a slightly bitter taste.

Ecological Significance

Common Ramping Fumitory is an important plant in the ecology of disturbed habitats. It is one of the first plants to colonize bare or disturbed soil, and its ability to grow in nutrient-poor soils and tolerate drought makes it an important pioneer species. It also provides food and habitat for a variety of insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths.

In conclusion, Common Ramping Fumitory is a small but important plant that has a variety of uses and ecological significance. While it may be considered a weed in some contexts, it is a valuable component of many ecosystems, and its medicinal and culinary uses should not be overlooked.

More Information

Despite its ecological and medicinal significance, Common Ramping Fumitory can also be a nuisance for gardeners and farmers. Its ability to grow rapidly and spread quickly means that it can outcompete other plants and reduce crop yields. Additionally, it has been known to harbor plant diseases and pests, which can cause further damage to crops.

Controlling Common Ramping Fumitory can be challenging due to its rapid growth and ability to self-seed. However, there are several methods that can be used to manage its growth. Hand weeding is an effective method for small infestations, but for larger infestations, herbicides or mechanical removal may be necessary. It is important to remember that any control method should be tailored to the specific situation and should take into account the potential impact on non-target species and the environment.

In addition to its ecological and medicinal uses, Common Ramping Fumitory also has cultural significance. In traditional European folklore, the plant was believed to have magical properties and was used in love spells and as a charm against evil spirits. It was also believed to have protective properties and was hung over doorways to ward off illness and bad luck.

One interesting aspect of Common Ramping Fumitory is its unique method of seed dispersal. The seeds of the plant are contained in small, hard capsules that are ejected from the plant when they come into contact with moisture. This mechanism, known as ballochory, allows the seeds to be dispersed over long distances and helps to explain the plant's ability to colonize new habitats quickly.

In addition to its role in traditional medicine, Common Ramping Fumitory has also been the subject of scientific research. Studies have shown that the plant contains several bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, that have potential applications in the development of new drugs and therapies. For example, some of the compounds found in the plant have been shown to have antitumor, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Common Ramping Fumitory is also valued by gardeners and landscapers for its delicate, fern-like foliage and attractive pink flowers. It is often used as a groundcover or edging plant, and its ability to self-seed means that it can quickly fill in gaps and bare areas in a garden or landscape. However, it is important to remember that the plant can become invasive in some situations and should be monitored carefully.

Overall, Common Ramping Fumitory is a small but fascinating plant that has a variety of uses and ecological and cultural significance. Its ability to thrive in disturbed habitats and its medicinal and bioactive properties make it an important plant for further study and exploration. By continuing to learn about and appreciate the unique qualities of Common Ramping Fumitory, we can better understand and appreciate the complex interconnections between plants, people, and the environment.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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