Distinguished by having flowers that age purple form a blue start earlier in the year. The flowering stems are pretty well upright and carry a distinctive red flush. The foliage mounds up into a ferny bush of fresh appley-green leaves which have a dusky cast in the winter from tiny brown spots. Early Spring. 30*30cm. For moisture retentive soil in shade or half shade. Possibly more evergreen than some.
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. Corydalis elata extends the flowering season by being a month later to flower and also being more upright in growth.
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.