Description: Perennial herbs, with angular, trailing stems, sometimes climbing by sensitive petiolules; usually glabrous and with a watery sap.
Leaves alternate, sometimes all basal, commonly pinnately dissected 2 or 3 times, ultimate segments often deeply lobed [or rarely leaves simple]; stipules absent.
Inflorescence usually a raceme. Flowers mostly strongly zygomorphic, bisexual. Sepals 2, small, often ± peltate, bract-like, not enclosing the developing bud. Petals 4, in 2 pairs, the 2 outer dissimilar, larger, often pouched or spurred at the base, the inner 2 similar, smaller and narrower, ± fused over the stigmas at the tip. Stamens mostly 6, dimorphic, united in 2 bundles; 1 or more nectaries, often spur-like in form, commonly present at the base of the stamens. Ovary superior, of 2 fused carpels, 1-locular; style slender, stigmas 2 or stigmas 2–several-lobed.
Fruit a 2-valved capsule, dehiscing longitudinally, or nut-like and indehiscent.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 15 genera, c. 400 species, mainly in northern temperate regions, also in East Africa. Australia: 2 genera, c. 8 species (naturalized), all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Papaveraceae, Order: Ranunculales)
This family is sometimes included in family Papaveraceae.
Several species are grown as ornamentals, most notably Dicentra spectabilis (L.) Lemaire, the Bleeding Heart, and D. cucullaria (L.) Bernh., the Dutchman's Breeches.
Text by G. J. Harden
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||All fruit 4–12-seeded, linear, c. 15 mm long, dehiscing by 2 valves||Pseudofumaria|
|At least the lower fruit 1-seeded, more or less globose, 2–3 mm long, indehiscent||Fumaria|