Index- plants in this Family
Fumariaceae / Fumitory AKA: Bleeding- Heart
Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis flavula)
Yellow Corydalis is also known as Yellow Harlequin and Yellow Fumewort.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 38cm in height (15inches).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is finely divided and seem to have a slight white bloom.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape and are up to 1.3cm long (0.5 inches). They are yellow. Blooms first appear in late winter and continue into mid spring. There is a spur on the back of the flower which in this species is less than one third the length of the flower
Fruit: A slender silique.
Habitat: Open woods, slopes.
Range: Connecticut south to North Carolina

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Medical Uses: Since Corydalis is in the Poppy Order it is not surprising that the plant contains many alkaloids. Native Americans placed the root on coals and inhaled the smoke to "clear the head..."(Erichsen-Brown) and early American doctors may have used the bitter, astringent root to stop bleeding, for irregular menses, pain, diarrhea and dysentery. There may be some Chinese studies to suggest that Corydalis alkaloids may be muscle relaxants, analgesic and may slow the flow of gastric secretions.(Foster & Duke)
: Corydalis may be toxic even in low doses. Symptoms may include trembling and convulsions.

Similar Species: Golden Corydalis (C. Micrantha)is distinguished by having a longer spur which makes the flower stalk appear to strike the flower about midpoint. It is found from Minnesota to Florida in rocky woods and along stream banks.
Pale Corydalis or Rock-Harlequin (C. Sempervirens) is a slender plant with pink flowers with yellow tips and very small spurs. It can reach 1.2m (4') in height and is found in rocky woods from Alaska to Tennessee.

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Corydalis flavula - showing seed pods  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves
Fumitory AKA: Bleeding- Heart



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