Corydalis Nobilis - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Corydalis Nobilis Described.
Corydalis Nobilis -
Noble or Great-flowered Corydalis; Nat. Ord. Fumariaceæ.
A hardy tuberose perennial, imported from Siberia in 1783. It is one of that
section of the Fumitories called "Hollowe Roote," the appropriateness
of which name is most amply illustrated in the species now under consideration.
If, in the first or second month of the year, a strong specimen is examined,
the long and otherwise stout tuberous root will be found, immediately under the
healthy and plump crown, to be not only hollow, but so decayed that the lower
and heavy fleshy parts of the root, which are attached to the crown by
a narrow and very thin portion of the root bark, in such a way as to suggest
that the lower parts might as well be cut off as useless—but, let me say,
do not cut it. If it is intended to replant the specimen, let it go back to "Mother
Earth" with all its parts, deformed as some may seem to us; otherwise Corydalis
nobilis will be anything but a noble plant at the flowering season; it may not
die, but it will probably make for itself another "hollowe roote" before
it produces any flowers, The habit and form of this plant are perfect, and
there are other points of excellence about it which cannot be shown by an engraving,
in the way of the arrangements of colours and shades. Seldom does the little
plant, so full of character, exceed a height of 8in. The specimen from which
the drawing was made was 7in., and grown fully exposed in a pot plunged in sand.
Another plant, grown on rockwork, "high and dry," is about
the same size, but it looks better fed. Probably the long roots are short of
depth in pots, and the amount of decay may soon poison the handful of mould contained
therein. Be that as it may, the specimens grown in pots have a hungry appearance
compared with those less confined at the roots.
The flowers are a pleasing mixture of white, yellow, brown, and green. The
four petals are of such a shape and so arranged as to form a small snapdragon-like
flower. These are densely produced in a terminal cluster in pyramid form on the
stout and richly-foliaged stem; dense as is the head of flowers, every floret
is alternated with a richly-cut leaf, both diminishing in size as they near the
top. The older flowers become yellow, with two petals tipped with brown, the
younger ones have more white and green, and the youngest are a rich blend of
white and green; the head or truss is therefore very beautiful in both form and
colour, and withal exquisitely scented, like peach blossom and lilac. The leaves
are stalked bipinnate; leaflets three-parted, cut, and glaucous; there are few
plants with more handsome foliage, and its beauty is further enhanced by the
gracefully bending habit of the whole compound leaf. The flowers are too stiff
for cutting, and otherwise their fine forms, colours, and perfume cannot well
be enjoyed unless the plants are grown either in pots or at suitable elevations
on rockwork, the latter being the more preferable way. The long blooming period
of this plant adds not a little to its value, lasting, as it does, quite a month,
the weather having little or no effect on the flowers.
Any kind of sweet garden soil seems to do for it, and its propagation is carried
out by careful root division.
Flowering period, April to June.
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