Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Favorite Plant – Corydalis nobilis

Carl Linnaeus, famous for developing the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature, received some incorrectly labeled seeds that turned out to be Corydalis nobilis. Decedents of these plants can still be found today in his preserved garden. In fact it is an early example of a non-native plant escaping from a garden and becoming naturalized in its new home. It is believed that all of the wild Corydalis nobilis growing in Finland and Sweden are escapees from Carl Linnaeus’ garden.

Corydalis nobilis, Robert Pavlis

Corydalis nobilis; photo by Robert Pavlis

Corydalis nobilis, also called the Siberian corydalis is a very special plant. It is one of the largest corydalis, and it is a reliable perennial in northern climates. Once established, which can take a couple of years; it is a reliable bloomer in the garden.

Corydalis nobilis, Robert Pavlis

Corydalis nobilis; photo by Robert Pavlis

The flower is the main attraction partly because it is yellow and bright, but mostly because it has such an unusual shape. The inflorescence is very dense with up to 40 flowers. Each golden yellow flower has dark violet markings on top. Flowers last 2-3 weeks and have a spicy fragrance.

Corydalis nobilis, Robert Pavlis

Corydalis nobilis; photo by Robert Pavlis

By mid-summer, the leaves have all died back, and the plant has gone underground for a rest allowing other later flowering plants to steal the show.

Video Source:

General information:

Name Pronunciationkor-ID-ah-liss NO-bil-iss

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 60 cm (2 ft)

Bloom Time: spring

Natural Range: Siberia, Mongolia, China

Habitat: between shrubs, rocky ground, ravines

Synonyms:   none



Light: part shade to full sun

Soil: good drainage

Water: moist in spring, drier in summer

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8

Propagation: seed sown immediately, difficult by division in fall

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Robert Pavlis
Editor of
I live in southern Ontario, Canada, zone 5 and have been gardening a long time. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

I hope you find Garden Myths an educational site that helps you understand your garden better.

3 Responses to 'Favorite Plant – Corydalis nobilis'

  1. Cathy says:

    If this is the same as Corydalis Lutea??? In my garden it is invasive. Are they different. Thanks