PINK OR PALE CORYDALIS
(Capnoides sempervirens; Corydalis glauca of Gray) Poppy
Flowers - Pink, with yellow tip, about 1/2 in. long, a few borne
in a loose, terminal raceme. Calyx of 2 small sepals; corolla
irregular, of 4 erect, closed, and flattened petals joined, 1 of
pair with short rounded spur at base, the interior ones
narrow and keeled on back. Stamens 6, in 2 sets, Opposite outer
petals; 1 pistil. Stem: Smooth, curved, branched, 1 to 2 feet
high. Leaves: Pale grayish green, delicate, divided into
variously and finely cut leaflets. Fruit: Very narrow, erect pod,
1 to 2 in. long.
Preferred Habitat - Rocky, rich, cool woods.
Flowering Season - April-September.
Distribution - Nova Scotia westward to Alaska, south to Minnesota
and North Carolina.
Dainty little pink sacs, yellow at the mouth, hang upside down
along a graceful stem, and instantly suggest the Dutchman's
breeches, squirrel corn, bleeding heart, and climbing fumitory,
to which the plant is next of kin. Because the lark (Korydalos)
has a spur, the flower, which boasts a small one also, borrows
its Greek name.
Hildebrand proved by patient experiments that some flowers of
this genus have not only lost the power of self-fertilization,
but that they produce fertile seed only when pollen from another
plant is carried to them. Yet how difficult they make dining for
their benefactors! The bumblebee, which can reach the nectar, but
not lap it conveniently, often "gets square" with the secretive
blossom by nipping holes through its spur, to which the hive bees
and others hasten for refreshment. We frequently find these
punctured flowers. But hive and other bees visiting the blossom
for pollen, some rubs off against their breast when they depress
the two middle petals, a sort of sheath that contains pistil and
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