COMMON RAMPING FUMITORY

Fumaria muralis

Poppy [Papaveraceae]
(Formerly: Fumariaceae)

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24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A straggly floppy annual that requires the presence of surrounding plants or walls for support, when it is able to reach a metre high. Ramping rampantly.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Growing amidst the glaucous leaves of garden flowers.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
It has thin un-supportive stems which branch, atop of which is a short spike of pinkish flowers. It lacks tendrils for grip, preferring instead to brush up against neighbouring plants.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Without support it sprawls along the ground. The length of stem occupied by the flowers equals that of the stalk.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Nestling nicely between stout leaves it manages to stand upright. Un-like Common Fumitory, which has somewhat glaucous leaves, Common Ramping Fumitory has mid-green leaves.


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
An upper section isolated from its organic climbing frame so the viewer can see what's what.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
There are only about a dozen flowers in the 'spike' compared with about 20 for Common Funitory. The flowers are mainly lilac in colour, somewhat tubular, tapering slightly near the end before widening slightly into two lips, which are dark-red. The flowers of Common Funitory have darker tips.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Each flower has a pair of frilly white 'wings' which are light green in the centre.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
At 9-11mm long the flowers are longer than those of Common Fumitory which are only 7-8mm.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Lower petal is slightly broader at the tip. two white frilly 'wings' beneath the flower.


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The 'wings' are actually sepals, and are white , always shorter than half the length of the upper part of the flower (excluding the longer lower lip), coloured white and with a pale green mid-vein.


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The sepals are pointed oval in shape (and not longer with a rectangular mid-section) and randomly but bluntly dentate at the wider end.


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The sepals would be transparent if it were not for specular reflection from the reticulated surface looking like tiny droplets of drizzle. The observant viewer might also notice that the reticulations ray outwards in curved lines emanating from the area where the pale-green part begins (near the blunt end).


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Looking right up its 'nose' - not much to see here - move along there.


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The as-yet un-opened flower buds with the pairs of white sepals featuring prominently.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves of Fumitories, like those of Creeping Corydalis, strangely asymmetrical. They are pinnate, with three or five sets of leaves, which are themselves lobed into three, some of those lobes themselves being lobed. All leaves and lobes are of un-equal length.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A set of three leaves, deeply lobed into three's, which are less deeply lobed into two's. Each has a fine point at the tip.


24th Aug 2011, Bickerstaff, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The stems are round, slightly fuzzy hairy, and perhaps faintly striated.


11th Aug 2015, arable fields, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaflets are tipped by tiny purple points.


The next most common Fumitory after Common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis)

Easily mis-identified as : Common Fumitory; the differences between the two are highlighted in the picture captions.

Common Ramping-fumitory is split up into three sub-species :

  • Common Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria muralis ssp. boraei)
  • A Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria muralis ssp. muralis) extant in less than three hectads
  • Davey's Ramping Fumitory (Fumaria muralis ssp. neglecta) seemingly now extinct in the UK!
The above photos are those of sub-species boraei.

Some similarities to : many other Fumitories

Superficial resemblance to : Climbing Corydalis in that the flowers are somewhat similar, but this has white flowers, un-lobed leaves, and tendrils with which it can climb.

Fumitories contain the alkaloid Fumarine (not to be confused with the coumarine derivative Fumarin which is not an alkaloid). Fumarine is otherwise known as Protopine, a benzylisoQuinoline alkaloid found in Berberis species. Common Ramping Fumitory also contains Stylopine and Fumaricine.

When broken, the stems, leaves and mid-ribs ooze a poisonous white latex which is dangerous should it get in the eye.

ISOQUINOLINE ALKALOIDS


These isoquinoline alkaloids are found within Common Ramping Fumitory. Protopine is also known as Fumarine (which should not be confused with the similarly spelled Fumarin which is a coumarin derivative and not an alkaloid). Protopine has anti-bacterial properties.

Stylopine is another Berberine isoqoquinoline alkaloid, as is Protopine. It is also found in Greater Celandine, another member of the Papaveraceae Family and experiments suggest that it may contribute to the anti-inflammatory action of the yellowish juice which oozes from broken stems of Greater Celandine.

The last, Fumaricine, is a spiro compound and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It has some similarities to another spiro compound called Mecambrine which is found within Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis cambrica)

FUMARIC ACID



Fumaric Acid, named after the Fumitories it was found within, is a simple dicarboxylic and un-saturated organic acid based upon trans-betene. It is isomeric with Maleic Acid, found in Apples, and is based upon cis-butene, but which is not, as far as the Author knows, found in Fumitories and is shown only for comparison purposes. Being the cis-form Maleic Acid has more internal energy than does Fumaric Acid, requiring more energy in synthesis.

Fumaric Acid is also found in Bolette Mushroom Boletus formentarius var. pseudo-igniarus and in lichen such as Iceland Moss. One of Fumaric Acids synonyms is Lichenic Acid. It is non-toxic and tastes sour, rather than bitter, as does Maleic Acid. Used in cooking and as a food additive and as a substitute for Tartaric Acid in baking.


  Fumaria muralis  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Papaveraceae  

Distribution
 family8Poppy family8Papaveraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Fumaria
Fumaria
(Fumitories)

COMMON RAMPING FUMITORY

Fumaria muralis

Poppy [Papaveraceae]
(Formerly: Fumariaceae)

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