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CORYDALIS cava

Image of Corydalis cava

Jessie Keith

Family

Fumariaceae

Botanical Name

CORYDALIS cava

Plant Common Name

Hollow Wort

General Description

Eurasian in origin, this low herbaceous perennial has dainty leaves and showy pink, purple, red, white, or yellow flowers that light up the shade garden in spring. The conical clusters of two-lipped, long-spurred flowers are borne atop one to several compact stems that arise from a large hollow perennial tuber in early or mid-spring. Ferny, deeply cleft, compound leaves clothe the lower reaches of the stems. A few forms have shallowly lobed leaflets. The flowers give rise to elongated capsules filled with small brown seeds that are distributed by ants. Plants go dormant by late spring. They often self-sow.

This perennial is easy to grow if given the right conditions. Partial shade and fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil are preferred. Cold winters are required, so it cannot be grown in frost-free regions. It dislikes excessive heat and drought. Plant the tubers 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) deep in late summer or early fall. Tubers desiccate rapidly and should be planted as early as possible. This plant is ideal for naturalizing in shady areas, or for dotting in perennial borders and rock gardens. Keep different color forms separate to prevent them from producing seedlings of other colors.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 8

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4"-12" / 10.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Width

    4"-10" / 10.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Europe, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Purple, Light Yellow, Pink

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes