This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, lark, the spur of the flower resembling a lark's spur). Fumariaceae. Hardy plants allied to the Dutchman's breeches.
Erect or prostrate herbs, usually perennially rooted, but often annuals: leaves lobed and finely dissected in nearly all the species: flowers racemose, often yellow, less frequently blue, purple or rose; petals 4, spurred as in the Dutchman's breeches; stamens 6, in 2 groups. - Ninety species, natives of the north temperate regions. They are all of easy cultivation They prefer full sunlight but will grow in half-shade. Prop, by division or seed.
a. Flowers chiefly purple or rose, sometimes tipped yellow. B. Plant perennial: root tuberous: stem - leaves few.
Erect, 6 in. high: leaves 3-4, stalked, biternately cut, segments wedge-shaped or oblong: root solid: flowers large, purplish. Spring. Eu.
A perennial caulescent herb, with glaucescent foliage: leaves usually alternate with finely divided segments, the whole If. not over 10 in. long: flowers
showy, rose-colored, pendulous, on a terminal dense-flowered raceme that is usually about the height of the leaves N. W. N. Amer. - Perhaps not hardy in the northeastern states.
bb. Plant annual: root fibrous: stem - leaves many.
Annual, 1-2 [ft. high, very glaucous: lobes of the leaves mostly spatu-late: racemes short, pani-cled at the naked summit of the branches; flowers barely 1/2in. long, rose or purple with yellow tips; spur short and round: caps, slender, linear; seeds with minute, transverse wrinkles. Summer. Rocky or sterile ground, Nova Scotia to Rocky Mts., and even Arctic coast, south to Texas. B.M. 179 (as Fumaria). - Not advertised for sale, but probably worth cultivation.
AA. Flowers chiefly yellow.
B. Foliage not tomentose.
C. Plant perennial: root tuberous or woody: stem - leaves few or none.
D. The flowers at least 1 in. long.
Fig. 1072. Perennial, erect: leaves bipinnately cut; segments wedge-shaped and lobed at the apex: flowers white, tipped with yellow, and a dark purple spot; spur 1 in. long. Spring. Siberia. B.M. 1953 (as Fumaria nobilis). G.C. II. 19:725.
Fig. 1072. Corydalis nobilis.
Rhizome woody, elongated: leaves large, long-petiolate, rigid, but spreading, the pinnae of the finely dissected leaves petiolulate: flowers yellow, in large spreading racemes, which are opposite the leaves; sepals persistent, ovate. - A very showy species from China, the foliage strongly resembling Thalictrum.
A glabrous, often glaucescent perennial, with a rosette of radical much-dissected leaves about 5 in. long: flowers in an erect raceme 7 in. high, which is usually leafless; corolla deep canary-yellow, about 1 in. long, the blunt spur about 1/8in. long. G.C. III.
35:306. - Useful for the Alpine garden and more profuse bloomer than C. tomentosa, its nearest relative. China.
dd. The flowers not over 1/2in. long.
A small low perennial with radical, fern-like, much-dissected, erect leaves about 8 in. long: scape usually taller than the leaves, bearing numerous flowers not over 1/2in. long, yellow. China. May. - Suitable for moist places in the alpine garden. Probably unknown in U. S. as it is a rare plant in nature.
cc. Plant annual or biennial: root fibrous: stem - leaves numerous.
D. Height of plants 2 ft. or more.
Root fibrous, the stem 2-3 ft. and branched: leaves pinnatisect, 4-8 in. long, and glaucous beneath: fis. yellow, in many-fid., lax racemes which are opposite the leaves; sepals orbicular, finely toothed and fimbriate. Moist valleys of the Himalayas.
dd. Height of plants usually less than 1 ft. e. Raceme spike-like; flowers almost sessile.
Probably a biennial: commonly more robust than C. aurea, ascending or erect, 1 ft. high or less: flowers golden yellow, over 1/2in. long, in a spike-like raceme; spur as long as the body, commonly ascending: caps, quadrangular, 1 1/2 in. long; seeds turgid to lens-shaped, with acute margins densely and minutely netted. Woods in Texas.
ee. Raceme not spike-like; flowers pedicillate.
Annual, 6 in. high, commonly low and spreading: flowers golden yellow, about 1/2in. long, on rather slender pedicels in a short raceme; spur barely half the length of the body, somewhat decurved: caps, spreading or pendulous, about 1 in. long; seeds 10-12, turgid, obtuse at margin, the shining surface obscurely netted. Rocky banks of Lower Canada and N. New England, northwest to latitude 64°, west to Brit. Col. and Ore., south to Texas, Ariz, and Mex.; not Japan. - The western forms have the spur almost as long as the body of the corolla and pass into
Variety occidentalis, Engelm. More erect and tufted, from a stouter and sometimes more enduring root: flowers larger; spur commonly ascending: caps, thicker; seeds less turgid, acutish at margins. Colo., New Mex., W. Texas, Ariz.
Erect or spreading, 6-8 in. high, annual, or forming a tufted stock of several years' duration: leaves delicate, pale green, much divided; segments ovate or wedge-shaped, and 2-3-lobed: flowers pale yellow, about 1/2in. long, in short racemes; spur short: pod 1/4 or 1/3in. long. Stony places of S. Eu., and runs wild in Eu.
bb. Foliage tomentose.
A low rock-loving perennial, with a rosette of radical leaves 4-7 in. long, oblong in outline and tomentose, the tomentum whitish pink, pinnae finely dissected: racemes erect, 5-7 in. tall; corolla about 3/4in. long, light canary-yellow, the spur very blunt and about 1/4in. long. China. - A good plant for the rock-garden.
C. angustifolia, DC, is a little-known perennial with bi-ternately divided leaves and flesh-colored flowers=Fumaria angustifolia, Bieb. G.C. III. 35:307. - C. cava, Schweigg. & Kort. (probably a form of C. tuberosa, DC.) is somewhat larger than C. bulbosa, with pretty flowers varying into purplish and white. Eu. - C. ochroleuca. Koch. One ft. high, blooming June-Sept.: flowers yellow-white, the spur yellow: caps, linear: petiole winged. Italy. - C. Scouleri, Hook., grows 3 ft., and is cult, in some European gardens. W. Amer.