Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, usually annuals, rarely perennials, erect, or diffuse, scrambling or sometimes scandent, usually with long stems, glabrous or subglabrous. Leaves cauline, irregularly 2 - 4-pinnatisect; segments usually narrow. Flowers small, white or pink, short pedicellate, in terminal or leaf-opposed bracteate racemes; bracts linear, short, rarely as long as pedieels. Sepals 2, lateral, small or obsolete. Corolla zygomorphic; petals erect or connivent, outer pair dissimilar, upper one gibbous or spurred at base and hooded at apex, lower one shorter, not spurred, flat or concave; inner pair clawed, keeled, free or coherent at tip. Stamens 6, in 2 bundles, upper bundle produced into a basal nectariferous gland enclosed in spur of petal; anthers dimorphic. Ovary subglobose, 1-loculed; ovules 1 (-2); style filiform, articulate at base; stigma entire or shortly 2-lobed. Fruit a 1-seeded nutlet, indehiscent, subglobose, rugulose or smooth when dry with 2 apical pits due to clefts in the mesocarp; seeds not arillate, brownish.

Europe, extratropical Africa, Central Asia, Himalayas, plains of N. India, up to Myanmar; ca 50 species, 4 species in India.

Notes. The species of this genus show high amount of variability. There is much discord among various authors on the delimitation of species. The variability largely depends on light and shade conditions. The genus needs a careful revision on its whole range coupled with field observations. Cleistogamous flowers are known in plants growing under shade. Often they grow as weeds in cultivated fields.


1a. Peduncles 2 - 6 cm long; sepals more than 1.5 mm long; corolla more than 7 mm long 2
b. Peduncles 05 - 1.5 cm long; sepals 1 mm or less long; corolla less than 7 mm long 3
2a. Pediccls erect in fruit; sepals 1.5 - 3.5 mm long; corolla 7 - 9 mm long, dark purple; wings of upper petal not prominently upturned; nutlets rugose when dry 3. Fumaria officinale
b. Pedicels rccurved-arcuate in fruit; sepals 4 - 6 mm long; corolla 10 - 14 mm long, creamy-white or light pink; wings of upper petal prominently upturned; nutlets smooth when dry 1. Fumaria capreolata
3a. Bracts equal or slightly longer than fruiting pedicels; corolla pale pink or white, 6 - 7 mm long; leaf segments obscurely channelled or not; nutlets obtuse at apex 2. Fumaria indica
b. Bracts shorter than fruiting pedicels; petals pinkish violet or purple, 5 - 6 mm long; leaf segments flat; nutlets minutely apiculate at apex 4. Fumaria vaillantii

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