Pale Corydalis

Corydalis flavula
Fumariaceae (fumitories; bleeding-hearts)

All Corydalis species are delicate, low-growing, and sometime form mats. Flowers in terminal racemes with a few florets, each light yellow, the petals converging (but not fused) into a tubelike appearance with a spur; the supporting stem attached near the center of the flower rather than at the end. Blooms April-May. Leaves similar to Dutchman’s breeches; compound, with fernlike, dissected divisions, carried on flowering stems and arising from base, bluish green.

There are four species of Corydalis in Missouri, and they are quite similar in appearance.

Height: to about 10 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs in rich woods, along streams, and below bluffs.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Primarily an Ozark flower of south and central Missouri.
Also called yellow fumewort, yellow corydalis, and yellow harlequin.
Human connections: 
Pale corydalis and its close relatives contain a variety of alkaloids and other chemicals that render them “medicinal” and probably toxic. Despite any historic medicinal uses uncovered by anthropologists, it's best not to experiment with such plants.
Ecosystem connections: 
This species, like other early spring wildflowers in forests, is adapted so that its growth and flowering take place before the trees get their leaves and shade them out. At the same time, though, these flowers require the forest habitat to survive.
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