Corydalis ophiocarpa
Common Name: corydalis 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Papaveraceae
Native Range: Eastern Himalayas
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Ivory
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Perhaps best in rich, moist, humusy soils that never dry out. Plants dislike the hot and humid summers of the deep South. Plant foliage may be cut back to basal leaves in summer if leaves decline. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Corydalis ophiocarpa is native to the Himalayas. It is an airy, fern-like perennial that is perhaps appreciated more for its foliage than for its somewhat plain flowers. It typically grows in a clump to 18” tall (less frequently to 30” tall). Tubular, spurred, yellowish to creamy ivory flowers with dark red tips bloom in racemes in May. Flowers are easy to observe but are not particularly showy. Unlike some other species of Corydalis, this species generally will not go dormant in summer as long as consistent moisture is given. Clumps of ferny blue-green leaves can be quite attractive in shady areas of the garden. Genus name comes from the Greek word for crested lark in reference to the flower spur.

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 snake pod in reference to the dangling, snake-like seed pods.


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage may decline in summer.


Shade gardens, woodland areas or cottage gardens. Will naturalize.