Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory

Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare lichens
Discover Wisconsin's lichens.
Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Rare plant monitoring annual report

Catch up with the latest news in rare plant monitoring efforts throughout Wisconsin.

Eagle license plate

Help care for rare plants and animals by ordering an Endangered Resources plate.

Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle

Climbing Fumitory (Adlumia fungosa)

Life history

Species overview

Climbing Fumitory (Adlumia fungosa), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in dry to moist hardwood or coniferous woods, often with a history of burning. It is often found on dolomite and, less commonly, on basalt. Blooming occurs late June through late September; fruiting occurs late July through early October. The optimal identification period for this species is early July through early October.

Synonyms: Fumaria fungosa


  • Distinguishing characteristics: In flower, climbing fumitory can be identified by the combination of its vining habit and dangling flowers. Squirrel corn and Dutchman's breeches have similar flowers but do not vine, while species of corydalis have similarly shaped leaves but have flowers that are more perpendicular to the stems.
  • Flower characteristics: Corolla white to pale pink to purplish, 10 to 17 x 3 to 7 mm, borne in axillary panicles.
  • Fruit characteristics: Pod 2-valved bearing compressed-globose, lustrous seeds.
  • Leaf characteristics: Pinnately divided, 3 lobed leaves 2 to 13 x 1 to 8 cm.


  • Blooming phenology: late June through late September
  • Fruiting phenology: late July through early October
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early July through early October


  • Growth form: Vine-herbaceous
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Biennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Acer saccharum, A. spicatum, Pinus strobus, Thuja occidentalis, Fagus grandifolia, Betula papyrifera, B. allegheniensis, Abies balsamea, Cystopteris bulbifera, Osmorhiza claytonii, Coeloglossum viride, Sambucus pubens. The plant uses the tip of the leaves to climb.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Climbing Fumitory (Adlumia fungosa). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Adlumia fungosa in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in dry to moist hardwood or coniferous woods, often with a history of burning. It is often found on dolomite and, less commonly, on basalt.
  • Soils: Sandy, loamy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Climbing Fumitory. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Climbing Fumitory. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Although A. fungosa responds well to soil disturbance, it is unlikely that large scale clear cutting is beneficial. Natural soil disturbance such as the scouring that occurs near waterways is important to this species, and so impacts to local hydrology should be avoided in order to maintain the natural disturbance regime.


Climbing Fumitory Photo.

Climbing fumitory is vine that grows in forest openings.

Photo © Corey Raimond.

Climbing Fumitory Photo.

The flowers of climbing fumitory look similar to squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis), but climbing fumitory is a vine.

Photo © Corey Raimond.

Climbing Fumitory Photo.

Adlumia fungosa.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Climbing Fumitory Photo.

Adlumia fungosa.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Climbing Fumitory Photo.

Photo by Armund Bartz, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition