Corydalis ochroleuca
Common Name: corydalis 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Southeastern Europe
Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to October
Bloom Description: Pale yellow to creamy white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Grow in humus-rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Avoid heavy clay. Best in light sun-dappled conditions, particularly in hot summer climates. Plants become somewhat lanky in too much shade. Plants will not perform well in the deep South in most areas south of USDA Zone 7 where growth may slow down or stop in the heat of the summer. Plants prefer cool summer climates such as those found in the Pacific Northwest where flowers often bloom throughout summer and well into fall. Plant roots will tolerate short dry spells, but should not be allowed to dry out completely which also may trigger a slip into dormancy. If foliage significantly depreciates in hot summers, plants may be cut back which will sometimes trigger a sparse rebloom later in the summer or early fall. Plants will spread by self-seeding to form colonies.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Corydalis ochroleuca, commonly called corydalis or white corydalis, is an often short-lived, open woodland, herbaceous perennial that typically grows in a mound to 12-20” tall and to 16-24” wide. It is native to rocky woodland areas of southern and eastern Europe. It has naturalized in parts of western Europe. Clean, finely-divided, lacy, pinnately decompound, blue-green leaves are glaucous on both surfaces. Narrow-tubular, pendulous, fragrant, pale yellow to creamy white, 4-petaled flowers (each to 5/8” long) bloom June to October in axillary racemes. Each flower has a spur on one end and open soft-yellow lips at the other end.

Some experts now list this plant as Pseudofumaria alba. Change of genus name is based upon a finding that morphological characteristics of this plant are not related to the characteristics of other species in the genus as confirmed by DNA testing. Change of the specific epithet to alba meaning white is based upon a finding that the name alba was apparently assigned to this plant prior in time to ochroleuca.

Genus name comes from the Greek word korydalis meaning lark in reference to the resemblance of the plant’s floral spurs to the spurs of some larks.

Specific epithet means ochre-colored.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Shaded rock gardens or border fronts. At the base of large shrubs. Forms a nice ground cover in shaded woodland or cottage garden areas. Naturalized areas. At the top of cool shady stone walls.