Fumitory (Fumaria muralis)

Photo: (c) Anne5578

Family: Fumariaceae

Growth Habit: This prostate and scrambling plant has solid, hairless, grey/ green stems that can reach 1m in length. A single plant can cover one square metre. Foliage is soft and carrot-like.

Type of Plant: Fumitory is a climbing annual herb.

Photo: (c) Anne5578

Flowers: Flowers occur in clusters of 10 to 15. They are tubular, pink with a blackish tip. (The less common Fumaria bastardii, also a weed, has 15-25 flowers per cluster.)

Fruit/Seed: Small, smooth fruits are produced on a short stalk. The fruits contain several tiny seeds.

Dispersal: Reproduces from seed with germination in autumn and spring. Can be spread via clothing, boots, vehicles, tillage and harvest machinery, crop and pasture seed and forage. The seed has an oil sack that reduces germination and attracts ants which can disperse seeds short distances. The seed bank may persist for several years.

Distribution: Fumitory is widely distributed around the State. Most commonly occurs in crops, run down pastures, roadsides, home gardens and waste places.

Status: Undeclared in Tasmania.

Weed Impact:

  • It may compete strongly with crops, particularly cereals, vegetable and legume crops.

For further information contact the Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment, Tasmania.

Control Methods:

  • Grubbing (autumn, winter and spring). Small areas eg. Home garden. Ensure the taproot is removed.
  • Grazing (autumn, winter and spring). Block grazing with sheep is useful in controlling weeds such as Fumitory. Avoid overgrazing.
  • Herbicide (autumn, winter and spring). Herbicides registered in Tasmania include metsulfuron, glyphosate, dicamba, MCPA and mecoprop.

N.B. Always check the herbicide label before use.