Roots: an Appendix

Last week’s rootling around left one rather significant stone unturned: Corydalis tubers. A significant number of the Corydalis genus form tubers of some description to see them through the hard times. For many of them these hard times mean the searingly hot summers and witheringly cold winters of Eastern Europe and Central Asia; really only getting on with the business of growing and flowering in the spring. Anyway, although they’re only above ground in the spring, here in the UK the tubers get going underground around around now.

I was sorting through the various tubers left for sale and decided it was time to give them more of a permanent home heading into the winter. They’ve been sitting in the temporary home of a sandy soil mix where I can pluck them out and send them off to anyone who orders them. At the point when the tubers start growing, the plan is to plant out any left overs into pots to sell as plants in spring. Well that point has now been reached, and slightly sooner than I thought. Here’s a tuber of Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’ that’s now well into growth:

Corydalis tuber solida Beth evans

As you can see, the shoots on the top are starting to expand and to ready themselves for next year. On the bottom of the tuber, the roots are well into growth. I was surprised to see ‘Beth Evans’ so far progressed; it’s more of a mid-season Corydalis, not a particularly early one. It’s obviously just excited to get going.

Corydalis decipiens is little more laid back: buds showing, but not much else doing:

Corydalis tuber decipiens

Bearing in mind C. decipiens flowers at roughly the same time as ‘Beth Evans’, it’s curious to see such a notable difference. To add to the atmosphere of curiousness, here’s another variation on Corydalis tuber growth:

corydalis tuber purple beauty

Corydalis solida ‘Purple Beauty’ is really cracking on; it’s bud has quite literally burst. This is perhaps to be expected given that it is one of the first Corydalis to emerge in the spring. Whilst the top half of the tuber is wide awake, the bottom half is still snoozing soundly. No fresh now roots to show here. Why ‘Purple Beauty’ should focus on developing it’s shoot, whilst ‘Beth Evans has focussed on root growth is a mystery to me, but I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

Well there we go: three Corydalis tubers, all very closely related, doing three slightly different things as they prepare for the winter. After being rudely disturbed, they’ve now all been given a more permanent home:

potted corydalis

That’s all for now, thanks for popping by!

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