Submitted by ncole on

I am trying to figure out what the difference is between Corydalis ochroleuca and the WHITE form of C. lutea. I think I am correct in thinking they are two different plants. Someone gave me this white Corydalis which does acts like the lutea in its' reseeding habit.


Submitted by ErnieC123 on Sun, 04/29/2012 - 13:51

Hey Nancy !
I can't help you at moment about the difference of the two white Corydalis!
I can only send you a picture of my Corydalis ochroleuca, maybe it helps you.

Is it similar to yours?

Submitted by RickR on Sun, 04/29/2012 - 18:20

It is normal for C. ochroleuca to be white with green and yellow, as in Ernie's pic.  I have never seen a white C. lutea, but it would be my guess that it would only be white?

Corydalis ochroleuca


Submitted by Hoy on Mon, 04/30/2012 - 03:28

C lutea is much hardier! And it has a different growth habit although it is difficult to explain. It is easier when you see both plants together.

Submitted by ncole on Sun, 05/20/2012 - 10:17

Thanks.  I have tried posting a picture but to no avail.  Mine has a little yellow (thing) hanging out of its' white flower and otherwise looks just like lutea.  It seems every bit a hardy as the lutea.  Someone said you can tell the difference with seeds..(one being much shiner thant the other).  ??

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 05/20/2012 - 13:27

Nancy, from searching the internet, I can't find any references to a white-flowered form of Corydalis lutea occurring, but your plant certainly looks exactly like C. ochroleuca

Submitted by ncole on Sun, 05/20/2012 - 13:41

I just now found a site that referred to a Corydalis lutea 'Alba' but do not know whether this is right or wrong.  I remember having ochroleuca awhile back and it seemed to just not like it in my garden.. this one reseeds all over.  Go figure.  Thanks Lori.

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 05/20/2012 - 14:52

Ooops, I clearly didn't look hard enough! 
It's often difficult to find actual descriptions of European plants for some reason... if descriptions could be found, then one could figure out the defining differences between C. ochroleuca and C. lutea ('Alba').

Submitted by RickR on Sun, 05/20/2012 - 20:13

Many (if not most) of us have experienced the same phenomenon as you may have, Nancy: where we have trouble establishing a species in the garden, but once we do, it is never a problem again.  So I wouldn't necessarily believe that such a difference means a different species, although it could.

I see your suspect corydalis also has green in the flowers, just like C. ochroleuca.  But I have never seen any green in C. lutea flowers.

Submitted by ncole on Mon, 05/21/2012 - 05:10

This particular plant was given to me so I can't go back and check on any order.  It would be interesting to see them side by side..maybe I will order another ochroleuca and compare.  Thanks again.

Submitted by RickR on Mon, 06/11/2012 - 20:50

Yes, Pseudofumaria alba and Corydalis ochroleuca are synonyms. 

Submitted by ncole on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 04:26


Submitted by Mark McD on Sat, 06/23/2012 - 20:03

Corydalis elata is in bloom now, permeating the air for a number of meters, beguiling the senses with a rich coconut fragrance, and visually with bright blue flowers.  It blooms for many weeks, a late woordland bloomer, typically a July delight, but earlier this year with our super early spring.

Submitted by Lori S. on Sat, 06/23/2012 - 20:59

A coconut scent! Huh, that's amazing!   :o  I have never been able to get any of the blue corydalis to do well here, and I'm astounded to hear that they are scented as well as beautiful.

Submitted by ncole on Sun, 06/24/2012 - 05:22

for me elata is the easiest blue...all the other just melt away.  I would think you should be able to have them Lori as they dislike the humid hot nights here.

Submitted by cohan on Wed, 07/04/2012 - 14:50

The elata is a real stunner, Mark!

I have some happly little seedlings of C ophiocarpa, which I think is a woodland species? (any siting tips?)
A quick look on google images suggests its not among the showiest, but the flowers are nice close-up; I noticed some yellow versions as well as the whitish- don't know which I have, but hoping the latter, as I have plenty of C aurea native on the property and doing very well at spreading to every new planting I I don't mind as its easily removed where I don't want it, and that means when I have a spot ready for a big colony of it, it will be nearby!
Interestingly, I sowed it (ophiocarpa) in spring this year, when it would have had several weeks of chilly weather, and a few more with cool nights- I was expecting no germination till next year, but it came up en masse weeks ago!

Submitted by Tingley on Thu, 02/14/2013 - 16:30

Absolutely love any of the really blue Corydalis! I've just planted a few seeds of the white Corydalis malkensis, and would really love to add some of the blues to the mix- Corydalis elata, flexuosa, fumariifolia, and particularly Corydalis turtschaninovii are all on my radar to eventually add to the woodland garden. If anyone knows of reliable seed sources, I'd be in your debt.

Submitted by copperbeech on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 08:26

Here is one of my "Wildside Blue" from last June 2012 (it was planted late fall of 2011).

I chose "Wildside" as it was advertised as the (only?) blue Corydalis that would not go dormant but alas it did (unlike my bullet proof "Lutea"). I will relocate it to a shadier spot this spring to see if that helps.

Submitted by Hoy on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 11:41

Well, it looks splendid where it is located ;)

Submitted by Tim Ingram on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 11:52

I wonder what the parents of 'Wildside Blue' are? In UK gardens there have been a lot of hybrids coming up between elata and flexuosa, we've had a couple even in our dry garden, and these are usually evergreen like elata, unless it gets too dry and then they just disappear. This corydalis is really good if you can find it, though not a brilliant blue - superb winter foliage.

(Moderator: adding plant name so that it is searchable: Corydalis quantmeyeriana 'Chocolate Stars')

Submitted by Hoy on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 11:59

Tim, it had probably succumbed to the desiccating easterly winds we have had all winter. But I am on the lookout for it though ;)

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 12:16

Copperbeach, I hadn't heard of Corydalis 'Wildside Blue', your plant looks fantastic.  From what I have found out about it, it is thought to be a C. elata seedling, but whether its a hybrid or not remains to be seen, the photos I see of it look lust like C. elata. It originates from Wildside Nursery in the UK.  It should be noted that C. elata is variable, with some very dark blue forms in the UK. Also, looking through the ponderous list of species in Flora of China, with a whole bunch in the "Elata Group" and closely related species, there is some question whether plants in cultivation as C. elata might actually be C. omeiana or C. harrysmithii, or even hybrids.

There was a lot of discussion about this on the Scottish Rock garden Club forum here:

Link for C. 'Wildside Blue'

Tim, I've seen that Corydalis photo before (Corydalis quantmeyeriana 'Chocolate Stars'), so it reminds me that I have considerable lust for it ;) :rolleyes: The foliage reminds me of a young Aralia for some reason, very ornamental.

Submitted by copperbeech on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 12:30

Hoy wrote:

Well, it looks splendid where it is located ;)

Thank you. It was fine in May and June but in July and August it shut down in terms of flowering due to the too sunny location and our too hot summer last year. I will relocate it (assuming it shows up this spring ;)).

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 12:33

Oh, I should've mentioned, while C. elata flower in summer and "tend" to stay in growth thoughout the summer season, they will retreat to early dormancy if they're too dry; if keep moist and shaded the foliage will remain much longer.

Submitted by copperbeech on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 12:46

Mark, the 'blurb' I had seen regarding "Wildside Blue" (from the nursery I obtained it from) was that it is a hybrid developed by British nursery man Keith Wiley. And yes your link gives good information. Again I chose "Wildside" with the hope that it would not melt away. But now that I think about it maybe I have not been quite fair to this plant. I was thinking that it would bloom as well as "Lutea", which it did not, BUT I think the one in my posted picture did not actually hibernate if that means that the foliage remained visible the whole season.

Is that everyone else's experience with blue corydalis ie less floriferous than lutea?

Submitted by AmyO on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 13:32

McDonough wrote:

Tim, I've seen that Corydalis photo before (Corydalis quantmeyeriana 'Chocolate Stars'), so it reminds me that I have considerable lust for it ;) :rolleyes: The foliage reminds me of a young Aralia for some reason, very ornamental.

Mark....This Corydalis has been grown and sold by Sunny Border Nursery in the past. When I worked for Ward's Nursery in Gt. Barrington, MA I was able to get it from SBN.....but that was 6-7 years ago. Not sure if they still offer it.

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 13:50

Thanks Amy, I'll have to look for it.  If Sunny Border still has it, it is likely to show up at local nurseries, SBN supplies many of the New England area nurseries, I see their tags on plants all the time.

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 03/17/2013 - 14:45

More on Corydalis elata / omeiana.  I've meticulously gone through the Flora of China keys, and feel that the plant I'm growing as C. elata does indeed key closest to C. elata, and next closest to C. harrysmithii, very close but a bit less like omeiana.  The word out there is that "everything" in cultivation as C. elata is C. omeiana, but that flies in the face of the fact both species are known to be grown, omeiana and true elata. See the second link for more detailed analysis.

Here is the same topic (C. elata vs omeiana) revisited in lots of botanical detail: