Plumes generated by vertically distributed sources of buoyancy have been observed to have substantially lower entrainment coefficients than their equivalent-geometry constant buoyancy flux plumes. Two differences between distributed and localized sources of buoyancy are the presence of a wall shear stress at the source and that non-ideal source conditions are distributed over the whole height of the enclosure for a vertically distributed source. Herein the impact of non-ideal source and boundary conditions on vertically distributed plumes is analysed. It is shown that, at small heights, the plume volume flow rate is significantly influenced by the wall-source volume flux. At larger heights the wall-source buoyancy is greater than the mean plume buoyancy, creating a non-self-similar horizontal buoyancy distribution within the plume. Recent experiments into the behaviour of a vertically distributed source of buoyancy in a confined region have also shown that the plume partially detrains in the stratified region of the enclosure. This detrainment has not been observed for constant buoyancy flux plumes in a confined region. Although models have been proposed to quantify the detrainment process, it is still unclear why vertically distributed buoyancy sources detrain while constant buoyancy flux plumes do not in the same physical geometry. The impact of source and boundary effects on previously published experiments on vertically distributed plumes are reviewed and the possible implications for plume entrainment and detrainment are discussed.