This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Diffuse or erect (sometimes climbing) herbs, with finely dissected leaves, and small racemose flowers. Petals 4, erect-connivent, the outer pair larger, 1 of them spurred, the inner narrow, coherent at the apex, keeled or crested on the back. Stamens 6, diadelphous, opposite the outer petals. Ovule 1; style slender, deciduous; stigma entire or lobed. Fruit 1-seeded, nearly globose, indehiscent. Seeds not crested. [Name from the Latin, smoke, from the smoke-like smell of some species.]
About 40 species, all natives of the Old World, the following typical.
Fumaria officinalis L. Sp. Pl. 700. 1753.
Glabrous, stems diffuse or ascending, freely branching, 6'-3° long. Leaves petioled, finely dissected into entire or lobed linear oblong or cuneate segments; racemes axillary and terminal, 1-3' long, narrow; pedicels 1"-2" long, axillary to small bracts; flowers purplish, 2"-3" long, crimson at the summit; sepals acute, toothed; spur rounded, i" long; nut 1" in diameter, depressed-globose.
In waste places and on ballast, occasionally about towns and villages. Newfoundland to Florida and the Gulf States, and locally in the interior. Bermuda. Fugitive or adventive from Europe. Summer. Wax-dolls. Earth-smoke.
Fumaria parviflōra Lam., found on ballast about the seaports, may be distinguished by its still smaller paler flowers (2"), very narrow sharp and channeled leaf-segments, and its apiculate nut.