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Purple Ramping Fumitory

Fumaria purpurea

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Papaveraceae (Poppy)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Beaches, fields, gardens, hedgerows, rocky places, sand dunes, seaside, walls, wasteland.

Pink, 4 petals
Flowers clusters consist of anything up to 24 flowers. Each flower is tubular and measures 10 to 13mm long.
Stalked globular fruits. The stalks are recurved.
A scrambling annual flower with deeply divided leaves.
Other Names:
Purple Fumitory.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Fumaria purpurea, also known as purple fumitory, is a species of flowering plant in the Papaveraceae family. It is native to Europe and Western Asia, and is a annual or biennial plant that typically grows to 20-60 cm tall and has delicate, divided leaves and small pink or purple flowers that bloom in Spring and Summer. The plant has a distinctive fern-like appearance, with deeply cut leaves and a tall, slender stem. It is less commonly found than many other fumitory species and it is usually found in dry, rocky or sandy habitats. It has a similar traditional usage and precautions as other fumitory species, but it is considered rarer. And like other fumitory species, it is also toxic in high doses and should be used under medical supervision.


Purple Ramping Fumitory, also known as Fumaria purpurea, is a delicate and beautiful flowering plant that belongs to the family Fumariaceae. It is a herbaceous annual plant that is native to Europe and is now found in many parts of the world, including North America and Asia.


Purple Ramping Fumitory is a slender, climbing plant that grows up to 60 cm in height. Its stems are thin and delicate, with finely divided leaves that are bluish-green in color. The flowers of the plant are small, pink-purple, and arranged in elongated clusters that are up to 10 cm long.


Purple Ramping Fumitory grows in a variety of habitats, including meadows, gardens, fields, waste places, and along roadsides. It prefers moist soils and can often be found in disturbed areas, such as construction sites, abandoned fields, and recently disturbed land.


The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Europe and Asia. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including skin disorders, digestive issues, and respiratory problems. The plant contains several compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Purple Ramping Fumitory is also used as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes. Its delicate flowers and foliage make it a popular choice for borders, rock gardens, and container plantings.


Purple Ramping Fumitory is not considered a threatened species, but it is important to note that it can be easily overlooked due to its small size and delicate appearance. As such, it is important to protect and conserve its natural habitats, particularly those that are under threat from development and other human activities.

Purple Ramping Fumitory is a beautiful and versatile plant that has many uses and benefits. Its delicate appearance and subtle beauty make it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes, while its medicinal properties make it an important plant in traditional medicine. As we continue to learn more about this plant and its uses, it is important to also take steps to protect and conserve its natural habitats, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy its beauty and benefits.

More Information

Purple Ramping Fumitory has a number of interesting cultural and historical associations. In Europe, it has been used in traditional folklore and herbal medicine for centuries. For example, it was believed that wearing a wreath of Fumitory on one's head could protect against evil spirits and sorcery. It was also believed to have the power to purify and cleanse the blood, and was used in the treatment of various skin conditions.

In addition to its traditional uses, Purple Ramping Fumitory has also been studied for its potential as a source of new medicinal compounds. Researchers have identified several bioactive compounds in the plant, including alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenoids, that have shown promise in treating a range of diseases and disorders. For example, some studies have found that Fumaria purpurea extract may have anti-cancer properties and could be useful in the treatment of certain types of tumors.

Despite its many benefits, however, it is important to note that Purple Ramping Fumitory can also be toxic in large quantities. It contains several alkaloids that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems if ingested in large amounts. As such, it is important to use caution when using the plant for medicinal purposes and to seek professional advice before doing so.

Purple Ramping Fumitory is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and many potential uses. As we continue to learn more about this plant and its properties, it is likely that we will discover even more ways to benefit from its unique qualities. Whether used in traditional medicine or as a decorative element in the garden, Purple Ramping Fumitory is a valuable and beautiful addition to our natural world.

Purple Ramping Fumitory is not only known for its medicinal properties, but also for its culinary uses. In some parts of Europe, the young leaves of the plant are used as a salad green, while the flowers and seedpods are used as a seasoning in soups and stews. The plant has a slightly bitter, peppery taste that can add depth and complexity to dishes.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, Purple Ramping Fumitory also has ecological importance. It serves as a host plant for a number of insect species, including the Fumitory Butterfly (Zerynthia rumina) and several species of moths. These insects play an important role in pollinating the plant and maintaining its population.

Unfortunately, like many wild plants, Purple Ramping Fumitory faces threats from habitat loss and climate change. As human development continues to encroach on natural habitats and temperatures become more extreme, it is important to take steps to protect and conserve this important plant species.

One way to support the conservation of Purple Ramping Fumitory is to grow it in the garden. The plant is easy to grow from seed and requires little maintenance, making it a good choice for beginner gardeners. By growing this plant in your own garden, you can help to ensure its continued survival and contribute to the preservation of our natural world.

Another interesting aspect of Purple Ramping Fumitory is its role in traditional dyeing practices. The plant contains several natural pigments that can be used to produce a range of colors, including shades of pink, purple, and brown. In some parts of Europe, the plant was used to dye wool and other textiles, creating beautiful and long-lasting colors.

Beyond its practical uses, Purple Ramping Fumitory has also played a role in art and culture. The plant has been featured in paintings and illustrations throughout history, often in association with themes of beauty, fragility, and the natural world. In contemporary art, the plant continues to inspire and intrigue, with artists exploring its unique form and delicate beauty in a range of media.

Overall, Purple Ramping Fumitory is a fascinating and multifaceted plant that has captured the attention and imagination of people throughout history. Whether appreciated for its medicinal properties, culinary uses, ecological importance, or cultural significance, this plant is a valuable and beautiful addition to our natural world. As we continue to explore and learn about this plant, it is important to remember the importance of protecting and conserving its natural habitats, ensuring that future generations can continue to benefit from its many gifts.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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