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Corydalis Species, Ferny Corydalis

Corydalis cheilanthifolia

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Corydalis (kor-ID-ah-liss) (Info)
Species: cheilanthifolia (ky-lan-thee-FOH-lee-a) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:





12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Millersville, Maryland

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hilton, New York

Peconic, New York

Southold, New York

Lansdowne, Pennsylvania

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 18, 2016, Ancolie88 from Innsbruck,
Austria (Zone 6b) wrote:

Corydalis cheilanthifolia blooms from April till Nov here in Austria. It makes many seedlings


On Nov 27, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The foliage is very attractive, and would be reason enough to grow it. But I grew this for several years without seeing any flowers. That didn't stop it from self-sowing. I've since read that in shady situations, when stressed, or late in the season, it produces inconspicuous flowers that self-fertilize in bud without ever opening.

It is taprooted, but I didn't find it difficult to transplant in the spring after cutting back the foliage.

This is one of the few corydalis whose seeds survive long-term storage. They also remain viable in the soil for at least several years.

Plants in commerce are commonly misidentified.


On May 10, 2013, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD (Zone 7b) wrote:

For two years it has lived in my partly shaded bed of natives, and looked beautiful. So far it does not seem to self sow much here. (C. lutea can self sow a lot here). I was trying to collect seeds today and found that tiny ants were in among the seed pods, and each carrying a seed away.


On Jan 2, 2009, SunnyBorders from Aurora, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted one Corydalis cheilanthifolia plant, about 4 or 5 years ago, in my garden (zone 5A) in a relatively shaded and moist location, but soon felt it seeded around too much. The plants are easy to remove, but I have been pulling up C. cheilanthifolia offspring of that one plant ever since.

I have, over numbers of years, used Corydalis lutea (also yellow flowered) for relatively shaded areas. The foliage may not be quite as attractive as that of C. cheilanthifolia, but C. lutea has a phenomenally long bloom time (May to September). It certainly also seeds around, especially with moisture, but the plant with its fleshy root is extremely easy to pull up.

I also have spring flowering purple Corydalis solida in the same location. It's spread has been quite mi... read more


On Mar 7, 2008, altagardener from Calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

Hardy in zone 3; very early to bloom.


On May 6, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

The leaves on this plant change color through the year. Newly emerging leaves are bronze, change to green, then become silver-green in the fall. Flower stalks grow on separate stems from the leaves, and they are held slightly higher than the leaves. Flowers are yellow, tubular, and attractive to bees and ants.

Everyone who has seen this plant in my garden wants it.

Seed very easy to collect. Allow the pods to dry before harvesting. Ripe seed is black, unripe seed is white, making it easy to distinguish. Each flower forms a seed pod, with 20-30 seeds per pod. Does not require cold stratification to germinate.

As with many corydalis, this does not transplant well. The best way is to grow it from seed directly sown where it is to grow. It ... read more


On Oct 13, 2001, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This Corydalis has lacy fern like foliage and yellow flowers.