Corydalis decipiens is a large flowered relative of Corydalis solida. It has those familiar light purple flowers which are generously displayed above the soft ferny foliage typical of the tuberous Corydalis.
The name and origin of this plant are a slight mystery, although it’s possible that obsessing over names makes no difference whatsoever to the plant, or it’s growing habits. The situation is as follows: Corydalis decipiens has existed as a name since 1854. However, the taxonomical powers-that-be list ‘decipiens’ as a synonym for Corydalis pumila. To add to this, it has been suggested that whatever it’s name is. it may well be a subspecies of Corydalis solida anyway. As far as I can tell, it is likely that it is a hybrid of probable horticultural origin.
Corydalis decipiens (or whatever you choose to call it) may be a conundrum to the Corydalis collectors amongst us, but when we descend from our ivory tower and get involved in the more down to earth process of growing the thing, the matter becomes a little more straight forward. It is a spring flowering, tuberous plant, like the better known Corydalis solida. It grows best in a woodland-like environment, but is robust enough to cope with a little variation on that theme.
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The fact that Corydalis decipiens has been around in the horticultural trade for so long speaks to both it’s ease of growing, and of propagation. It doesn’t set much fertile seed, but the tubers multiply quickly. This means it provides a large clump of soft purple flowers every spring, with little effort on the gardener’s part.