Corydalis ophiocarpa

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Robert Pavlis

Corydalis ophiocarpa: photo by Robert Pavlis

Corydalis ophiocarpa is an unusual corydalis that is evergreen all year. Its blue-green ferny leaves make a nice display in spring. It flowers in late spring and becomes more upright in growth to form a very airy plant.

Corydalis ophiocarpa summer growth:photo by Robert Pavlis
Corydalis ophiocarpa summer growth:photo by Robert Pavlis

Flowers are interesting, produced in abundance, but are not that showy. Grow it for its foliage that lasts all year long. In spring, cut back the previous years growth to make room for the new leaves. It does seed around a bit.

Corydalis ophiocarpa spring growth:photo by Robert Pavlis
Corydalis ophiocarpa spring growth:photo by Robert Pavlis

Sometimes called the false bleeding heart, it is confused with Corydalis cheilanthifolia in the trade. C. cheilanthifolia has leaf tips that are more pointed and the flowers are a solid deeper butter yellow. C. ophiocarpa has creamy, ivory flowers with red tip.

Corydalis ophiocarpa :photo by Robert Pavlis
Corydalis ophiocarpa :photo by Robert Pavlis

Corydalis ophiocarpa

(kor-ID-aha-liss  oh-fee-oh-KAR-pa)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 45cm (18in)

Bloom Time: late spring

Natural Range: Himalaya region

Habitat: woodland clearings

Synonyms:  Corydalis japonica

Cultivation of Corydalis ophiocarpa

Light: part shade

Soil: average to humusy

Water: average to moist

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 – 8

Propagation: seed, division

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. 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!

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