Grains Research and Development


Fumitory (Fumaria spp.)

Flowering Fumaria muralis
(Photo A. Storrie)

Fumitory, also known as carrot weed, is the widely used name for several species of Fumaria. Worldwide there are about 50 species of which eight are recorded in Australia.

Fumitory is an autumn and winter growing annual, glabrous (hairless) herb with a semi-erect climbing habit. Leaves are alternate, divided, deeply lobed and light green to bluish-green. Stems are irregularly five-angled, are brittle, may be reddish and contain a watery, greenish latex. The flowers are arranged in racemes and colour ranges from white to mauve depending on species. The plants vary greatly in their morphology depending on the growing conditions but also within species, particularly for F. bastardii. This variability leads to difficulty in the correct identification of the species.

Factors that make Fumitory a major weed:

  • A long-lived seed bank
  • The ability to germinate over a range of temperatures
  • Genetically variable allowing adaption to different conditions
  • Fumitory species have varying susceptibility to herbicides

Further detail about this weed including integrated weed management tactics that could be considered when developing a management plan can be found in the section on problem weeds in the new Integrated Weed Management Manual.

Further information

Ecology and biology of common weeds are outlined in section 6 of the Integrated Weed Management Manual.  

Other information

Best management practices for dryland cropping systems - Fumitory fact sheet (Murrumbidgee CMA)