Corydalis plant

(Question)

Early spring bloomer, 8″ tall, spreading.
Thanks!
This one has stumped me – it’s from a listener to my radio show.

unknown flower

(Answer)

The photo appears to be a beautiful example of Corydalis spp. A member of the Papaveracae family, these plants are native to moist, shady woodlands of Northern Europe and Asia. Corydalis are cultivated for their deeply divided, ferny leaves and narrow, spurred flowers, which appear in the spring. These plants are classified as “spring ephmerals” since foliage and flowers appear in the spring, then die down to their tubers during the summer.

Corydalis have many different colour forms as a result, one will see flowers of mauve, purple, red or white.