Corydalis sempervirens (Pale Corydalis)
|Also known as:||Rock Harlequin, Pink Corydalis|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; rocky soil, boreal forests, lake shores|
|Bloom season:||May - September|
|Plant height:||12 to 40 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Racemes of hanging tubular flowers on slender stalks. Flowers have 2 pairs of petals and a short blunt spur at the back. Petals are pale rose to deep pink with bright yellow lips at the mouth of the tube. The pink tube is somewhat flattened with a ridge all along the top and around the spur. The lower petals are thin and narrow and fit in the fold of the upper; the lips of both flare into bright yellow lobes at the opening, the upper lip three-lobed and the lower single. A pair of tiny teardrop shaped sepals grasp the flower at the end of the stalk.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are compound in groups of 3 to 5, with leaflets cleft in 2 or 3 parts that are further divided into narrow segments, rounded or blunt at the tips. Lower leaves are stalked, upper leaves are stalkless or nearly so. Stems are erect; leaves and stems are hairless, gray-green to blue-green, covered by a waxy bloom.
Notes:Pale Corydalis prefers the cooler rocky, sandy shores of lakes and rivers of the northeastern boreal forest and is most frequenly found as scattered plants in rocky, sandy soil in forest openings, river basins and lake shores, often in just cracks in the boulders. Large robust stands can rapidly colonize disturbed forest openings but are unlikely to persist as other species grow in. I have seen some very nice specimens growing in home flower gardens in northeastern Minnesota. This can perform very well in drier, poored garden soils though it will likely not tolerate excessively hot locations. It is an attractive flower with a long bloom season.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in St. Louis County. Photo courtesy Julia Vanatta taken at Isle Royale.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?