What is Adlumia?

Sonal Panse

Adlumia is a type of flowering, creeper plant from the poppy family Papaveraceae. It is native to the Eastern United States and can also be found in Eastern Canada, China, Korea and Japan; it is rare and endangered in its native habitat. The plant was once considered a type of the Fumaria genus, but, in 1804, the US agriculturist Major John Adlum, after whom it is now named, recognized it to be a separate genus. The Adlumia genus contains only one species, Adlumia fungosa. In Latin, the name fungosa means spongy, and this name is in reference to the look and feel of the Adlumia flowers. Other names for this species are Allegheny vine, Climbing Fumitory and Mountain Fringe.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

The Adlumia fungosa is a slender stemmed vine that can grow up to twelve feet (3.65 m) in length. It has light green, smooth fern-like leaves, and the leaf stalks send out tendrils that help the plant cling to surfaces as it creeps along the ground or up vertical supports. The plant is normally found on hillsides and in forests. The vine produces large clusters of white or pinkish, tube-like flowers in the summer and the fall. The flowers can generally last for several weeks.

Small, pod-like fruits develop on the vine between July and October. The Adlumia fruits contain many tiny, shiny black and flattened seeds. The plant can be propagated from these seeds as long as the seeds are planted while they are still fresh.

This planting should preferably be done at the beginning of the summer, and it will help to sow seeds singly and at a shallow depth in the soil. This plant prefers a soil that is moist, sandy and non-acidic. The planting area should be one that receives full or partial sunlight, and is not buffeted by strong winds. The Allegheny Vine seeds, once planted, can take anywhere from 15 to 45 days to germinate and produce new sprouts above the ground.

Since the Mountain Fringe plant is a creeper, it is a good idea to provide it with a supporting trellis to grow on; the trellis will also protect the vine during bad weather spells. It is important to make sure that the vine is watered regularly and sufficiently in hot, dry weather. It will also help to add leaf mulch to the ground around the plant. Regular mulching will keep the soil cool and moist, and will enable the vine to thrive.

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