Wall Fumitory

Fumaria muralis Sonder ex Koch

Family: - Fumariaceae.


Fumaria is from the Latin fumus terrae meaning smoke of the earth and may refers to the smoky odour of some species in this genus or the smoky colour of some species when in flower.

Muralis is Latin meaning growing on the walls.

Wall Fumitory

Other names:


Scrambling Fumitory (NZ)


A weak stemmed, deeply lobed leaf, annual herb or vine with pink flowers that have dark tips from July to February.



Two. 20-35 mm long by 3-7 mm wide with a short or merging stalk. Tip pointed. Hairless. The seedling has a hypocotyl but no epicotyl.

First leaves:

Usually grey green and may have a purplish tinge. The first leaves grow singly and are 7-15 mm long with a stalk 7-15 mm long. They have 3 leaflets that are deeply lobed. Hairless. Later leaves become more compound and lobed.


Alternate. Forms a rosette.

Stipules -

Petiole - Long, grooved on top side.

Blade - Usually grey green to blue green with purple tinge, flat up to 80 mm long by 40 mm wide. 3 times deeply divided with 3 or more leaflets, 3-15 mm long, deeply lobed with egg shaped to triangular segments that are usually 3 lobed. Hairless.

Stem leaves - Alternate, similar to rosette leaves.


Initially erect then sprawling, scrambling or climbing, weak, many branched, up to 1000 mm long, polygonal, solid, soft, slender to robust. Hairless. Sometimes has a waxy bloom.

Flower head:

Terminal, axillary or opposite the leaves (extra axillary) . Loose leaf opposed raceme with 10-20 flowers per branch.


Tubular on a short, 2-2.5 mm, stalk that is erect or spreading when in fruit.

Sometimes flowers are small and self fertilising, otherwise as follows.

Bracts - Narrowly oblong, 2-3 mm long. Shorter than and underneath the flower stalks.

Ovary - Thread like style with 2 stigmas.

Sepals - 2, 3-5 mm long by 1.5-3 mm wide, attached in the middle of their back, broadly egg shaped with spreading lobes in the lower half and not lobed near the top, flat. Tip sharply pointed. Nearly as broad as the corolla and about a third as long.

Petals - Red to pink with dark purple tip, narrow, 6-15 mm long. 2 pairs. Hairless. Upper petal with upturned wings and a darker section, spurred or deeply pouched at the base. Lower petal with a narrow margin that is erect at the keeled tip. Tips of inner petals dark red. Petals close together at their tips, somewhat tubular.

Stamens - 6. Opposite outer petals. Joined by their filaments into 2 bundles.

Anthers - 2 sets of 3. The middle one has 2 cells the outer ones have 1 cell.


Spherical to egg shaped nut, 2 mm diameter, often with 2 small pits at top, appears smooth but is finely wrinkled. Narrowed above the flattened base, which is as wide as the top of the short, straight flower stalk. Obscurely keeled





Key Characters:

Pink flowers, 10 mm long, in loose racemes. Fruiting pedicels straight. Fruit indehiscent.


Life cycle:

Annual. Germinates anytime with a flush in autumn and spring. Flowers in spring.



By seed.

Flowering times:

August to November in SA.

Late winter to spring in western NSW.

July to September in Perth.

July to February in WA.

August to January in NZ.

Seed Biology and Germination:

The seed has an oil sack that reduces germination and attracts ants.

Seedlings appear throughout the growing season and the seed bank will persist for several years.

Cultivation usually causes a large emergence of seedlings.

Prefers to germinate in open, bare patches

Vegetative Propagules:



May hybridise with Whiteflower fumitory (Fumaria capreolata).


Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

The seed has an oil sack that reduces germination and attracts ants which may affect dispersal (Gertraud Norton).

Origin and History:

Europe and North Africa.



Widely distributed in Tasmania.

Most abundant in the mid south west of WA.





Most abundant on the gravel loams in WA and moist, loose rich soils elsewhere.

Plant Associations:




Major weed of crops, cereals, vegetables, and forage legumes causing yield reductions due to competition.

Weed of pastures, roadsides, gardens, footpaths, coastal shrub lands and disturbed areas.


Not recorded as toxic.



Management and Control:

It rarely flourishes in healthy, grazed pastures, but can be a problem during the establishment phase.

There are a number of herbicide options for cereal crops. It is difficult to control in broad leaved crops and herbicide tolerant varieties should be considered if they are available.


Eradication strategies:

Terbutryn is one of the better herbicides for controlling Fumitory because it provides high levels of control and residual action to control seeds germinating after spraying.

In bushland situations try a small area with 1 mL terbutryn per litre of water and spray plants until just wet when they are actively growing. Check for damage to local natives before treating larger areas as terbutryn is only partially selective. Alternatively, mark the infested area in spring and then apply 4 L/ha of metolachlor (720 g/L) just before the break of the season in autumn. For hand spraying use 4 mL metolachlor per litre of water and spray the ground until just wet.

It is easy to hand pull but the area must be done at least every 10 weeks during the growing season. The large number of seedlings that emerge after the disturbance of hand removal and continual germination demands a dedicated effort for success.

Increase levels of shade if possible.

Herbicide resistance:

Tolerant to hormone herbicides.

Biological Control:

Related plants:

Bastard's Fumitory (Fumaria bastardii) is very similar but has larger flowers and a lower petal that tends to hang down. It has pink flowers with purple tips and more than 20 flowers in each flower head (inflorescence).

Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) has smaller purplish pink flowers with dark green or purple tips in a 20-40 flowers in each flower head (inflorescence).

Denseflower Fumitory (Fumaria densiflora) is very similar but tends to be more purplish green than grey green, the young leaves are smaller and the lobes curled together, has smaller but more flowers.

Indian Fumitory (Fumaria indica)

Smallflower Fumitory (Fumaria parviflora)

Whiteflower Fumitory (Fumaria capreolata) has larger cream flowers with red-black tips.

Plants of similar appearance:

Carrot weed has similar leaves but yellow flowers.

Erodium and Storksbill have similar leaves but with hairs, the flowers are blue and they have corkscrew fruit.

Parsley Piert



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