Corydalis cava

Quick Characteristics:

Height: 10-20 cm (3.9-7.9 inch)
Flower Colors: white, purple, pink
Flower Season: early spring to mid spring
Life form: deciduous tuber

Corydalis cava (L.) Schweigg. & Körte (syn. Corydalis bulbosa Pers.) is a woodland plant native to Europe and western Asia. Its common name is 'hollow root' which agrees with the Latin meaning of 'cava', concave or hollow. Another common name, 'stagger weed' (referring to grazing animals), hints at its pharmacological uses; it contains a number of alkaloids: bulbocapnine, corydaline, corycavine and corydine. Other characteristics are: no prophyll, bracts untoothed, flowers scented. It has an unusually shaped perennial tuber which increases in size every year. Photographs 1+2 by Janos Agoston, pictures 3-5 by Martin Bohnet, showing the species in a deciduous forest habitat, where it often occurs in masses.

Corydalis cava, Janos AgostonCorydalis cava, Janos AgostonCorydalis cava purplish form, Martin BohnetCorydalis cava white form, Martin BohnetCorydalis cava in habitat, Martin Bohnet

Photographs by Janos Agoston and Martin Bohnet of various forms.

Corydalis cava 'Alba', Janos AgostonCorydalis cava 'Coccinea', Janos AgostonCorydalis cava with fasciated stem, Janos AgostonCorydalis cava 'Szép', Janos AgostonCorydalis cava form with bicolor leaves, found in the wild by Martin Bohnet

Corydalis cava subsp. marschalliana (Willd.) Hayek (syn. C. marschalliana) is a form with cream or pale yellow flowers. It is native to the Balkans, Crimea, Caucasus and northwest Iran. Photographs by John Lonsdale, in the second C. solida appears on the right, note the difference in the leaves.

Corydalis cava subsp. marschalliana, John LonsdaleCorydalis cava subsp. marschalliana and solida, John Lonsdale

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