yellow fumewort (Corydalis flavula)
Capnoides flavulum (Raf.) Kuntze
Fumaria flavula Raf.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name for yellow fume-
wort is Corydalis flavula (Raf.) DC.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Yellow fumewort is an annual, slender, low branching forb with
one to several initially erect stems. Stems often become prostrate or as-
cending, up to 30 cm. tall.
Leaves: The leaves are compound, blades in 2 orders of leaflets and lobes.
Lobes elliptic and variable in size with incised margins. Leaves pale, the
lower petioled, the upper sessile, all with finely dissected lobes.
Flowers: Inflorescences racemose, commonly 6-10 flowered, equaling or
barely exceeding leaves, simetimes poorly developed, Cleistogamous (self-fertilizing, flowers not opening) racemes present, inconspicuous, 1-5 flower-
ed. Bracts elliptic with proximal bracts often leaflike or variouly incised,
distal reduced and entire. Flowers erect with slender pedicel and sepals
lanceolate, ca. 1 mm. Petals pale yellow, spurred petal 7-9 mm, spur in-
curved, ca. 2 mm, crest high, marginal wing well developed, both crest
and wing wrinkled or dentate, unspurred outer petal similar to spurred
petal, 6-8 mm. The inner petals are 5-7 mm, blade apex ca. 2 times wider
than distinctly lobed base, with the claw 2-3 mm. Nectar secreting spur
less than 1/2 length of petal spur. The style is 1.5-2 mm with a stigma
wider than long, with 4 terminal papillae.
Fruit/Seeds: Capsules pendent, linear, straight or sometimes reflexed,
(14-18-20(-22) mm. Seeds ca. 2 mm diameter, minutely decorated on
narrow marginal ring.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Yellow fumewort propogates itself by
HABITAT TYPES: Yellow fumewort can be found on moist slopes,
ravines, low, open woodlands, flood plains, moist thickets, woody river-
banks, and in swampy ground. A common denominator among all these
habitats appears to be the presence of circumneutral or rich (often alluvial)
soils. In much of the mid-west and south-east, yellow fumewort occurs in
mesic to damp woods, floodplains, and bottomlands. Where it moves up
in elevation along the Alleghenies, Blue Ridge, and southern Appalachian
belt, the species occupies cliffs, rocky outcrops, ledges, and other compara-
tively dry habitats. These rocky, montane habitats including exposed trap-
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Yellow fumewort prefers full to partial
sun, and is generally found in moist ground.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Yellow fumewort blooms from April
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Yellow fumewort naturally occurs from
Florida north to the upper portion of the mid-Atlantic states, and extends
westward through the Ohio Valley region into the central mid-west
(Oklahoma to Nebraska). It does not naturally occur in the southwest or
upper mid-west, nor does it occur in the far west. It has been reported
from Ontario, but no other Canadian provinces.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Little research has been conducted con-
cerning the importance of yellow fumewort to fauna. A brief study at one
Connecticut site in April 2001 witnessed visits to yellow fumewort by
honey- bees (Apis spp.), and, most conspicuously, the falcate orange-tip
butterfly (Anthocaris midea).
Crooked Run Valley