COMMON FIGWORT

Scrophularia nodosa

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8brown
 
flower
flower8beetroot
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ5
 
type
typeZspiked
sparse
stem
stem8square
 
smell
smell8foetid
foetid
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 

8th Sept 2008, Bamford, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
A perennial native which grows to 1m high.


1st July 2005, Eskdale Valley, Lake District. Photo: © RWD
These specimens exceed the specification height, and has some long branches. Leaves opposite.


7th Aug 2013, a path, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
In fruit. The leaves may look as though they have leaflets at their bases and thus a contender for Common Figwort, but these are not on the same leaf-stalk, but on separate stalks; perhaps the start of a new branch.


22nd June 2009, Trowbridge, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Whilst these branches are in the shape of an upside-down Gaussian Distribution curve. Maybe it's a stochastic thing.


30th June 2008, River Lune, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaf teeth are serrate (and not rounded [aka crenate] like those of Water Figwort).


16th June 2010, Bryn Euryn, North Wales. Photo: © RWD
Another view of leaves with what, if they were on shorter stalks, may be interpreted as a couple of side-lobes, but Common Figwort lacks the side lobes sometimes found on the leaves of Water Figwort. The smaller leaves here are actually on branches just above the leaf nodes.


7th Aug 2013, a path, Peak District. Photo: © RWD


31st May 2017, ex-railway track, Chinley, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
The base of the leaves can adopt several different shapes, but is usually in the shape of a meandering double-S, as here and the photo below. The tiny leaflets are new branches, not lobes off the big ones. Overall, the leaves are ovate with an acute-angled tip.


30th June 2008, River Lune, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Some unopened flower buds together with a few opened ones. Apart from the hairs within the inflorescent spike, the plant is otherwise hairless (glabrous).


30th June 2008, River Lune, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Two opened flowers amidst many still to open. It has 4 stamens side by side, and closely stacked above each pair. Above that in the hood is a single infertile stamen or staminode, which has an obovate tip. The only 'hairs' are those in the inflorescence - they are stalked glands possessing a larger bobble on their ends, the gland. The flower is dull-purplish to brown with greenish-yellow parts.


22nd June 2009, Trowbridge, Silverdale, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Open wide; this wont hurt. There is a slightly longer and split hood at the top of the flower, two short side-wings and a lower lip curved outwards, five 'petals' in all. Note the single style draping over the curved-over lower lip, with its terminating discoidal stigma.


16th July 2017, St Helens Canal, nr St Helens, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A darker staminode, 4 pale cream anthers and a pale-green style. Note also that the flower is cupped by a rounded-lobed sepal cup. Unlike Water Figwort, the edges of the sepal cup have only a very narrow paler edge (it is much wider in Water Figwort).


16th July 2017, St Helens Canal, nr St Helens, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Lobed sepal cup holds the flowerhead like an egg-cup. To the left is a developing fruit with a now withering style atop.


16th July 2017, St Helens Canal, nr St Helens, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A group of fruit.


16th July 2017, St Helens Canal, nr St Helens, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The fruit has small white dots on it and is still seated like an acorn in the lobed sepal cup.


31st May 2017, ex-railway track, Chinley, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
The stem is square. but unlike Water Figwort, totally lacks any wings along the corners.


31st May 2017, ex-railway track, Chinley, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
Unopened flower buds. The top lip is longer, brownish and curved over.


16th July 2017, St Helens Canal, nr St Helens, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The casings of the seeds split open from the top into two halves, within is a brown seed.


16th July 2017, St Helens Canal, nr St Helens, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The brown seeds within each split opened fruit casing.


7th Aug 2013, a path, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
The main stem is square(ish), apt to have rounded corners and totally lacks any wings along the corners.


8th Sept 2008, Bamford, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
All leaves lack small side-lobes, unlike Water Figwort which often, but not always, has them. Note the slight double-S shape of the leaf where the stalk joins.


8th Sept 2008, Bamford, Peak District. Photo: © RWD
The leaf teeth are serrate and often double-toothed as here, never rounded as they often (but not always) are on Water Figwort. No side-leaflets either, those are branches.


Not to be semantically confused with : Fig (Ficus carica), Hottentot-Fig (Carpobrotus edulis), Angular Sea-Fig (Carpobrotus glaucescens) or Fig-leaved Goosefoot (Chenopodium ficifolium [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].

Not related to: Cape Figwort (Phygelius capensis).

Water Figwort (Scrophularia auriculata) differs from Common Figwort by the following features:

  • The leaves have crenate (rounded) teeth or blunt sawtooth teeth (as opposed to serrate (pointed and forwardly-directed sawtooth teeth for Common Figwort)
  • The leaved have winged petioles (stalks) - (unwinged on Common Figwort)
  • The leaves often (but not always) have an opposite pair of smaller leaves near the base of the main leaf - (leaflets always absent on Common Figwort)
  • The leaf stalks are winged - (un-winged on Common Figwort)
  • Sepals are rounded with a pale 0.5-1mm border - (oval, blunt and all-green on Common Figwort)
  • The infertile staminode is rounded at the apex - (it can be obovate, truncate or notched in the centre on Common Figwort)
  • The square stems have pronounced wings along each corner - (only very slightly winged on Common Figwort)
  • It smells only slightly foetid - (whereas Common Figwort smells foetid)

Common Figwort is more common than Water Figwort (Scrophularia auriculata) and is also found north of the Northern England. It smells rather foetid and prefers slightly drier places than does Water Figwort such as woods, hedge-banks and elsewhere where there is partial shade.

Common Figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) is poisonous and contains the following toxic substances:
PhenylEthanoid Glycosides:
Angoroside A
Verbascoside
Jionoside D
Purpureaside C
Scrophuloside B1
Scrophuloside B2

Iridoid Glycosides:
Buddlejoside A3
Buddlejoside A4
Buddlejoside A5
Pulverulentoside II
ScroValentinoside
Scrophuloside A1
Scrophuloside A2
Scrophuloside A3
Scrophuloside A4
Scrophuloside A5
Scrophuloside A6
Scrophuloside A7
Scrophuloside A8

The Scrophulosides were obviously first discovered in the many differing Figworts which occur throughout the World (the UK only has about 6 Scrophularia species out of maybe 200 worldwide). Similarly, the Buddlejosides were first found in species of Buddleja and the Verbascoside in a Verbena species. (Your Author does not know which genera Jion*, Angor* nor Pulver* (where '*' is a wild-card) represent, maybe they are genera which do not grow in the UK)


  Scrophularia nodosa  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Scrophulariaceae  

Distribution
 family8Figwort family8Scrophulariaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Scrophularia
Scrophularia
(Figworts)

COMMON FIGWORT

Scrophularia nodosa

Figwort Family [Scrophulariaceae]