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Fumaria cucullaria

(Dutchman's Breeches)

Common Names

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Common Names in English:

Dutchman's Breeches, Dutchman's-Breeches, Dutchmans Breeches, Dutchmans Britches


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Family Papaveraceae

Herbs or subshrubs , shrubs , or small trees , annual , biennial, or perennial , scapose or caulescent , usually from taproots , sometimes from rhizomes; sap clear, white, or colored , often sticky. Stems leafy or naked, erect , spreading , or decumbent , simple or branching. Leaves basal and/or cauline, alternate to opposite or whorled , simple, without stipules, petiolate or sessile; blade unlobed or with 1-3 odd-pinnate, subpalmate, or palmate orders of lobes . Inflorescences axillary or terminal , unifloral or else multifloral and cymiform, racemose, umbelliform, corybiform, or paniculate , pedunculate or subsessile ; bracts usually present. Flowers radially symmetric , pedicellate or sessile; receptacle sometimes expanded and forming cup or ring beneath calyx (only in Eschscholzia, Meconella, and Platystemon ) ; perianth and androecium sometimes perigynous; sepals caducous , 2 or 3, distinct or connate , usually obovate ; petals distinct, usually obovate, mostly 2 times number of sepals, sometimes more or absent; stamens many or 4-15 (only in Meconella and Canbya ) ; anthers 2-locular; pistil 1, 2-18[-22]-carpellate; ovary 1-2-locular or incompletely to completely multilocular by placental intrusion; placentas 2 or more, parietal ; style 1 or absent; stigmas or stigma lobes 2-many. Fruits capsular , dehiscence valvate , poricidal , or transverse , or carpels dissociating and breaking transversely into 1-seeded segments (only in Platystemon ) . Seeds usually many, small, sometimes arillate or carunculate.

Genera 25-30 (17 genera, 63 species in the flora ) : worldwide, mainly Northern Hemisphere.

According to W. R. Ernst (1962b), Papaveraceae "may be divided conveniently into four subfamilies." His scheme is followed here, but with the subfamilies taken up in alphabetic order; they seem to be natural groups, but their phylogenetic interrelationships are not yet clear. Similarly, the evolutionary relationships within the subfamilies remain ambiguous, and the genera in each are listed alphabetically. Subfamily Chelidonioideae Ernst includes genera 1-5; subf. Eschscholzioideae Ernst, genera 6-7; subf. Papavaroideae Ernst, genera 8-14; and subf. Platostamenoideae Ernst, genera 15-17.[1]

Genus Fumaria

Herbs, annual , caulescent , from taproots . Stems erect to reclining , branching. Leaves cauline, sometimes also basal, compound ; blade with 3-4 orders of leaflets and lobes , margins entire, surfaces glabrous . Inflorescences terminal on main stem and leaf-opposed branches, racemose. Flowers bilaterally symmetric about 1 plane ; sepals peltate with attachment near base , ovate , base rounded, margins ± lacerate , apex acute to acuminate; outer petals inconspicuously crested , one basally spurred ; stamens with filaments of each bundle completely connate , adhering basally to petals; ovary ovoid ; style promptly deciduous after anthesis , elongate ; stigma ± 2-lobed. Capsules indehiscent. Seed 1, elaiosome absent.

Species ca. 50: Eurasia , Africa, and Atlantic islands, with greatest diversity in w Mediterranean region.[2]


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Bicuculla cucullaria (L.) Millsp. • Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh.


Publishing author : L. Publication : Sp. Pl. 699

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Fumaria

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 17 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

F. bastardii (Tall Ramping Fumitory) · F. boraei (Fumitories) · F. capreolata (Climbing Fumitory) · F. cucullaria (Dutchman's-Breeches) · F. formosa (Pacific Bleeding-Heart) · F. muralis (Common Ramping Fumitory) · F. occidentalis (Western Fumitory) · F. officinalis (Common Fumitory) · F. officinalis wirtgenii (Drug Fumitory) · F. officinalis subsp. officinalis (Drug Fumitory) · F. officinalis subsp. wirtgenii (Drug Fumitory) · F. parviflora (Fine-Leaf Fumitory) · F. reuteri (Fewflower Fumitory) · F. sempervirens (Rock-Harlequin) · F. solida (Spring Fumewort) · F. vaillantii (Beggary) · F. wirtgenii (Drug Fumitory)

More Info

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Further Reading

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  1. Robert W. Kiger "Papaveraceae". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. David E. Boufford "Fumaria". in Flora of North America Vol. 3. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2/1/2015