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Fumariaceae: Fumitory Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Fumitory Family

      The delicate flowers of the Bleeding Heart or Fumitory family are always a delight to find. The flowers are irregular and bisexual with 2 scale-like sepals and 4 petals. The outer petals spread above the narrower inner petals. The flowers usually have 6 stamens in two groups of 3 on opposite sides of the pistil, but may have 4 stamens positioned opposite the petals. The ovary is positioned superior and consists of 2 united carpels (bicarpellate) that form a single chamber. It matures as a capsule or a 1-seeded nut.

      Worldwide, there are about 16 genera and some 450 species. Three genera below are native to North America. Fumaria was introduced. The Bleeding Heart Family is sometimes combined with the Poppy Family, and shares at least some medicinal properties. Both families are rich in alkaloids, many with narcotic properties.

Key Words: Irregular dicot flowers with 2 sepals and 4 petals.

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Corydalis aurea. Golden Corydalis.

Corydalis aurea. Golden Corydalis. Chiricahua Mountains. Near Portal, Arizona.

Corydalis aurea. Golden Corydalis.

Corydalis aurea. Golden Corydalis. Harris Wash-Escalante River. Utah.

Yellow Corydalis: Corydalis lutea.

Yellow Corydalis: Corydalis lutea. Photographed in Sweden.

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

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Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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