YELLOW CORYDALIS

Pseudofumaria lutea

(Formerly: Corydalis lutea)
Poppy Family [Papaveraceae]  

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug month8sep month8sept month8Oct

status
statusZneophyte
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8green
 
inner
inner8orange
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ2
(2+2)
type
typeZspurred
 
stem
stem8round
 
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 

22nd April 2008, Pendleton, Clitheroe, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
Often planted into the cracks in the sides of walls which it enjoys the best, from where it spreads of its own accord. It has plenty of drainage there, and usually much sun, which it can tolerate. But it can also grow in the shade.


12th June 2008, Cressbrookdale, White Peaks, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
It seems to like the alkalinity of the mortar in the walls. Flowers yellow in short one-sided spikes.


31st May 2005, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Skipton. Photo: © RWD
Leaves floppy and droopy, filling any available space to maximise light capture.


12th June 2008, Cressbrookdale, White Peaks, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
This specimen with unusually long flower stalks with a short one-sided spike (a raceme) of flowers atop enjoying alkaline run-off from a concrete path.


22nd Sept 2005, Trent & Mersey Canal, Runcorn East, Photo: © RWD
This is the more normal way for the plant to display its flowers.


31st July 2007, Silverdale. Photo: © RWD
The flowers are long and tubular over most of their length apart from a short widening into petals at the front and a short bent-downwards spur at the rear. The flower stalk holds up the flower before the spur curls downwards. Flower mostly bright yellow, but young flowers can display a little green on the petals (and older ones turn orange at the tip).


31st July 2007, Silverdale. Photo: © RWD
The flowers have a spur at the rear before the short flower stalk. On the left there is a long, thin, pale-green as yet immature seed pod. Ripe seeds are a dark-brown with a white fleshy elaiosome which covers part of the seed. The elaiosomes are fleshy structures which attract ants and it is they who transport and 'plant' more seeds in the wall making it spread many metres over some walls. Elaiosomes coat the seeds of many other plants sych as those of Greater Celandine, Bleeding-Hearts, Hyacinths andViolets amongst many others. The flower stalks (petioles) have a short white bract near the main flower stem.


12th June 2008, Cressbrookdale, White Peaks, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
The flower spikes are asymmetric, with flowers occupying less than a semicircle around the main flower stem.


12th June 2008, Cressbrookdale, White Peaks, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
There are two very short but slightly wider petals, one above and one below the 'mouth' of the plant.


12th June 2008, Cressbrookdale, White Peaks, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Best seen on the flower lower right are two further crinkly yellow petals arranged like a mouth which is slightly ajar. Flowers c. 2cm long.


22nd Sept 2005, Trent & Mersey Canal, Runcorn East, Photo: © RWD
The leaves are a bright greyish-green.


31st July 2007, Silverdale. Photo: © RWD
Leaves in opposite paris apart from the terminal leaf. The leaves split into three leaflets, which are partially divided into 3 lobes, each lobe ending in a point (being in this case a hydathode (to expel any unwanted water). Each leaflet is often asymmetrical.


Uniquely identifiable characteristics : There is no other plant quite like this.

The Genus Pseudofumaria used to belong to the Fumariaceae (Fumitory) Family but has since been re-assigned to the Papaveraceae (Poppy Family). Residing in the Poppy family (Papaveraceae) it inherits a certain toxicity due to a combination of differing alkaloids.

A PROTOPINE ALKALOID

Yellow Corydalis, as well as a few other members of the Corydalis Family, contain TetrahydroPalmatine, an protopine group alkaloid used as a sedative, analgesic and tranquilizer which is marketed worldwide under various brand names, but as with most drugs, is not without side effects, and in this case are sometimes quite dangerous relating to the heart and lungs. Tetrahydropalmatine blocks dopamine, a neurotransmitter found within the brain and the dysfunction of which is involved in Parkinsons Disease. Very similar to Palmatine.

AN APORPHINE ALKALOID

Corydalis'es including Yellow Corydalis, and Dicentra species (Bleeding Hearts) contain the isoquinoline aporphine group alkaloid Bulbocapnine, which has been used to treat muscular spasms and nystagmus (eye twitches). It is an acetylcholineesterase inhibitor, meaning it inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, which then builds up in the human body. Dicentra and Corydalis can cause the fatal poisoning of any sheep which may eat the plant. Bulbocapnine was made famous by your author William S. Burroughs in his book "Naked Lunch" where torture victims were made compliant by the drug. Bulbocapnine is related to Glaucine and Roemarine, alkaloids found within some members of the Poppy Family, and to others found in Barberry.

Yellow Corydalis has asymmetric leaves reminiscent of those of Moschatel, Lesser Meadow-Rue and Pale Corydalis amongst several others.


  Pseudofumaria lutea  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Papaveraceae  

Distribution
family8fumitory family8Fumariaceae family8Poppy family8Papaveraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Pseudofumaria
Pseudofumaria
(Corydalises)

YELLOW CORYDALIS

Pseudofumaria lutea

(Formerly: Corydalis lutea)
Poppy Family [Papaveraceae]  

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