- -Western corydalis as seen as seen blooming in a small stream where the Sheep Canyon Trail crosses it just east of the junction with the Toutle Trail, Mt. St. Helens National Monument..........August 20, 2017.
Western corydalis is an attractive perennial wildflower that grows from a thick rhizome, with erect, hollow stems from 60-120 cm tall. The stems may be simple or branched, with the 3 leaves all found about mid-stem. The leaves are 3-4 times pinnately compound, with the leaflets lanceolate to oblong-elliptic and from 2-8 cm long and 5-12 mm wide. The leaves and stems are both glabrous and glaucous.
The inflorescence is a raceme, which may be 15-35 flowered. The corollas are pink and range from 20-30 mm long with a spur from 12-20 mm in length. The spurs are about 2-3 times longer than the rest of the flower. The fruit is an elliptical capsule which is pendulous and measures from 8-10 mm long.
I occasionally see this species for sale at wildflower nurseries and botanical garden sales on the west side of the Cascades. I'd imagine it would make an attractive addition for the middle or back of the woodland border. Be sure to plant it in a thick layer of loamy soil that will be kept fairly moist through the spring.
Western corydalis is a plant of moist soil at low elevations in moist, shady woods and especially along streams.
Western corydalis may be found west of the Cascade Mts. from British Columbia to northern Oregon.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found between Crown Point and Cascade Locks, OR, between the elevations of 100'-1600'.
Close-up images of the glaucous foliage and attractive raceme of flowers of western corydalis as seen along the old gorge highway about one mile east of Crown Point in the western Columbia River Gorge..........April 15, 2006.