Fumariaceae / Fumitory AKA: Bleeding- Heart
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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)
Warning: 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.
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.
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