Fumitory – a welcome ‘weed’

I’ve always thought fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) to be a very pretty little plant and I’m happy to have it as a ‘weed’ in the garden.

Fumitory climbing through rosemary

It’s true that fumitory does seed freely and it can sprawl over a large area. It also has tiny little tendrils that clasp around anything it touches meaning that if you do choose to weed it out, you might well pull out other things you didn’t mean to too. But, it isn’t a greedy feeder, it is only an annual, and its roots are shallow and easy to pull up if you want or need to.

However, fumitory has many positive aspects that make it worth keeping: first of all, it’s pretty! Secondly, bees like it – although its flowers are so slender it’s not a first choice for many. It also has a long history as a medicinal herb, with lots of beneficial properties – from helping you sleep and chasing away nightmares, to curing all kinds of skin ailments. And, what’s more, it is recognised as an indicator of good soil quality – so if you have fumitory, you can be happy that it’s recognising that your soil is nice:)


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