All of the Corydalis we grow collected together to help you choose the one you like the best.
- Corydalis flexuosa ‘Pere David’ forms mounds of delicate ferny foliage which are topped off with charming spikes of sky blue flowers in early Spring. 30*30cm. For moisture retentive soil in shade or half shade. This variety is very similar to Corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’ but has a faster spreading habit. The stems can take on a red tint and the flowers become darker as the season progresses and moisture levels drop.
- Corydalis flexuosa ‘Purple Leaf’ (‘Blue Dragon’) Compact mounds of purple tinged ferny foliage, topped off with charming spikes of scented blue flowers in early Spring. 30*30cm. For moisture retentive soil in shade or half shade. This charming variety is tidier and neater than Corydalis ‘Pere David’ with foliage that is darker and flowers that are paler and pink tinged to begin with.
- Corydalis ‘Spinners’. Distinguished by having flowers that age purple form a blue start earlier in the year. The foliage mounds up into a ferny bush of fresh appley-green leaves. Early Spring. 30*30cm. For moisture retentive soil in shade or half shade. Possibly more evergreen than some.
- Corydalis ‘Tory MP’. This certainly has some Corydalis elata blood in it. The habit is fairly upright with the flowers being held high on tall stems and can come a month later than varieties such as Corydalis flexuosa ‘Pere David’. They are a rich blue in colour. I do wonder if this earnt its name on account of it being true blue and upstanding – but then again perhaps it comes from its habit of disappearing from site over the Summer ! – I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Early Spring. 30*30cm. For moisture retentive soil in shade or half shade.
- Corydalis shimienensis ‘Berry Exciting’ A newly introduced variety with the most striking yellow foliage which lights up anywhere it is planted. The flowers are a good purple. Grows best in a moist shady soil with plenty of humus incorporated. Spring flowering. 30cm
We grow cultivars of the lovely Chinese corydalis, Corydalis flexuosa and some hybrids that take on a little blood from Corydalis elata`or Corydalis cashmeriana. All the Corydalis have beautiful ferny foliage and spurred, tubular flowers.
The growth pattern of Corydalis is to form a mat of small stolons and fleshy leaf bases that begin to produce leaves as soon as the Autumn rains bring cooler weather. It continues to grow steadily through the winter. When the frosts come the leaves bow down and you think all is lost, but they always bounce back in a most remarkable way. Then in March and April the flowers come in bunch after bunch, getting deeper in colour as the light levels rise, only stopping when the Summer dormancy kicks in. Corydalis flexuosa is fairly easily grown if a little attention is paid to its needs. On the whole it grow well in any reasonably well drained humus rich soil in partial shade. In the drier areas of the country it can be a little harder to please, tending to lose its leaves earlier in the year, leaving the ground bare for longer. Corydalis cashmeriana has a greater need for moisture and can be difficult to coax into flower. Corydalis elata extends the flowering season by being a month later to flower and also being more upright in growth.
The blue Corydalis we have become so familiar with haven’t been in cultivation all that long. The three commonly seen cultivars, ‘Pere David’, ‘China Blue’ and ‘Purple Leaf’ were all brought back to this country in 1988 from the high mountain valleys of the Wolong and Baoxing regions of Western Sichuan, China by James Copton, John Darcy and Martyn Rix. Rueben Hatch visited a similar region earlier in 1985 and brought back the tuberous rooted ‘Blue panda’. The beauty of those collected in 1988 is their stoloniferous nature making them both excellent in the garden and easy to propagate.
Corydalis flexuosa can be found in the wild growing on steep shady slopes alongside Matteuccia struthiopteris – the Ostrich Fern
The name Corydalis comes from the Greek ‘korydalis’ – The Crested Lark for a fancied resemblance of the flower to the shape of the lark’s head.
Corydalis is a member of the Poppy family, Papaveraceae, a fact that is not obvious from the general shape of the flowers, but makes more sense when you are more familiar with the texture of the roots and stems, where genera like Papaver, Corydalis. Macleya and Dicentra are all quite similar.
You may find a couple of Corydalis, such as Corydalis ochroleuca now listed under Pseudofumaria.