We’re lucky to have 3 species of Corydalis (kor-RIDD-uh-liss) hiding amongst us in the St. Louis area. Click on their names to compare their photos (courtesy of 

​These are very small plants with very small flowers.  Their leaves are somewhat similar to Dutchman’s Breeches. From a distance their peculiar yellow flowers look like little blobs of scrambled eggs.  Up close, each flower looks more like a skewered banana (but don’t eat it, Corydalis contains toxic alkaloids). Most of us walk past these little annuals without even noticing them.  But this week they’re on our Flower-Spotter list, so we’ve got  to notice them!

Corydalis is now in the same Poppy Family as our “Bloodroot” and “Celandine Poppy”.  What?!  How can that be?  It’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, much less from the same family!  Actually, before 1998, Corydalis was indeed in a different family, the Fumariaceae , along with Dutchman’s Breeches and the beautiful garden plant “Bleeding Heart”. But DNA studies show that they’re all related. So now the whole bouquet (Bloodroot, Celandine Poppy, Dutchman’s Breeches, Squirrel Corn, Bleeding Heart, and the 3 Corydalis sisters) are trying to settle-in as one happy St. Louis family.

Not to cause trouble, but there’s a large insect in the St. Louis Area called a “Dobsonfly”. It’s genus name is “Corydalus” (with a “U” instead of an “I”). If a Corydalus lands on a Corydalis, we might as well just give up.

Flower Features of Corydalis


Racemes of yellow flowers


Calyx: sepals not noticeable
Corolla: 4 yellow petals (in whorls of 2).  The long outer petals are dissimilar, both having a keel, but one also having a spur; together they enclose the inner petals and the reproductive parts.


Stamens: 6 stamens in 2 bundles / the filaments are fused to the spurred petal


Ovary: superior-positioned ovary
Carpels: 2 fused carpels with a single style
Stigma: double-lobed
Fruit: long, straight or curved capsules

Week #1 (March 20-26)

Please protect the plants in our natural areas.
Locations where Corydalis might be found:

Please click to see a list of all our St. Louis Papaveraceae plants.