Corydalis solida

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Corydalis solida (L.) Clairv.


Life form: bulb or tuber
Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: sun - Exposure: half shade   6

Moisture: dry bis Moisture: moderately moist

Soil: gritty-sandy

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: decidious

Shape: ovate

Division: ternate

Shape: tubular
Fruit: silique

75D / cfb0e0 

Inflorescence: raceme

Petals: single
Habit: nodding

Growth form: clump-forming


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Corydalis solida, commonly known as Fumewort, Bird in a Bush, is a perennial, tuberous plant.


Corydalis solida was already described and the name validly published by Carl Linnaeus. It was not until 1811, however, that Joseph Philippe de Clairville reclassified it into todays valid botanical systematics.


Corydalis solida is a species in the genus Corydalis (fumewort) which contains approximately 640 to 698 species and belongs to the family of the Fumariaceae (Fumitory Family). The type species of the genus is Corydalis bulbosa.


Corydalis solida - growth
Corydalis solida - flowers
Corydalis solida - pollination
Corydalis solida - flowers


The plants grow to a height of 25 centimetres and form small clumps. The individual stems are unbranched. It takes the plants two to five years to reach their ultimate height and also to flower for the first time.


Corydalis solida has ternate leaves that are arranged opposite one another. The leaflets are ovate to obovate and pinnatipartite. They are bluish green to grey-green.

Flowers and Fruit

The flowers are tubular and pale purple to pale blue, rarely white. The plants bloom from March to May and are strongly fragrant when placed in the sun. The flowers are zygomorphic with four sepals, one of whom is transformed into a long spur. They are arranged in racemes. Corydalis solida has hermaphroditic flowers that are pollinated by insects (mostly bees).

The siliques ripen in May and June. The seeds are spread by ants. For this purpose they have small appendices that serve as food for the ants.

Root System

The tubers are brown and solid which presumably is the reason for the epithet solida.


Corydalis solida is native to North and Central Europe as well as to western Asia. It can mostly be found in light decidious forests, forest edges and coppices.


Corydalis solida prefers a sunny to half shady site and can withstand temperatures down to -23º C (USDA zone 6). It grows best in sandy-gritty soil that is moderately moist. Unlike Corydalis cava it does not like calciferous soils. The substrate should have a pH between 6,5 and 7,5.

Classification after Prof. Dr. Sieber

  • woods (soil usually rich in organic material)


Plant the tubers at two to three times their size in the soil. There should be a gap of 10 to 15 centimetres between plants. The plants are best planted in groups of 5 to 15. Well suited for rockeries, cottage gardens, wild gardens and as bee pasture. A nice effect can be achieved when planted under roses or shrubs. Good plant partners are for example Dicentra and Aquilegia.

Maintenance and Propagation

Deadhead if no self-seeding is wanted. The leaves should not be removed until they are completely withered since it is here that the plants produce nutrients for next years flowers.

Propagate by sowing seeds as soon as they are ripe. Letting the seeds dry greatly diminishes their capacity to germinate. Also, the tubers can be divided in autumn.



All parts of Corydalis solida, but especially the tubers are toxic.

Aeskulap  Please read the health issues note

Pests and Diseases

Honeydew, galls and distorted leaves are a sign for an infestation with aphids. Use an insecticide or control biologically , e.g. with parasitic wasps or predators such as Aphidoletes aphidimyza.

White tufts or white covering on the lower surface of the leaves indicates an infection with downy mildew. Remove affected plants and apply a fungicide. To prevent infection improve ventilation, keep the roots moist and do not water the plants from above.

Brown, orange or yellowish pustules on shoots and on the leaves lower surfaces are very likely caused by a fungal infestation (rust). Remove affected parts and apply fungicide. Also improve ventilation and reduce humidity.

Gnaw marks and slime trails indicate a problem with slugs. Prevent infestation by improving hygiene and by regularly working the soil. In case of an infestation use slug pellets or nematodes to control pest. Handpicking the slug also helps, do this preferably in the evening hours.


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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