Signs of life, Part II

At the start if January the big news was the emergence of Corydalis ledebouriana. I mentioned that a few of the other Corydalis from section Leonticoides were on their way up and here’s the proof:

Corydalis ledebouriana, popovii, sewerzowii and verticillaris are all now definitely alive. Much rejoicing and clapping of hands has taken place.

The four species mentioned above, all belonging to the Leonticoides section of the Corydalis genus, originate, broadly speaking, from Central Asia. It’s a nice way to categorise the group’s distribution but Central Asia is a huge area and a vague description. Whilst the Leonticoides group as a whole has a wider distribution, the species in question can mostly be found along the mass of land that make up the Tien Shen and Pamir mountain ranges. Imagine heading up from the northernmost point of India, up through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and to east Kazakhstan; this is the area we’re talking about here.


The reason for the proliferation of the suffix ‘-stan’ in this part of the world is that it is Persian for ‘place of’, perhaps translated better as ‘land’. Therefore Kazakhstan means ‘land of the Kazakhs’, Uzbekistan means ‘land of the Uzbeks’, and so on. (Pakistan is a notable exception, roughly translating as ‘land of the spiritually pure’, but also doubling as an acronym of the areas that came to make up Pakistan: Punjab, Afghan province, Kashmir, Sindh, balochisTAN (with the Baloch people being an group who’s land was kindly divided up between Iran, Afghanistan – land of the Afghans – and Pakistan). Phew.)

In reality, the borders between these countries have been dictated more by colonialism than by demographics; plants on the other hand occupy their land without such concerns, and traverse boundaries whenever convenient. Geographical boundaries are a more significant barrier however, with the huge mountain ranges and deep valleys separating populations and providing numerous different ecological niches. Over long expanses of time, this seems to have created a wealth of diversity of Corydalis and other geophytes in the mountains of Centra Asia.

Pictures and Such

Here’s a quick run down of progress so far.

Corydalis popovii

I have two pots of this one, the first is doing very well indeed:

corydalis popovii leonticoides

The second has been a bit more reluctant to get going but is now making steady progress:

corydalis popovii

Corydalis sewerzovii

This pot is shaping up nicely – there’s plenty of growth and the flowers are beginning to look pretty special.

Corydalis ledebouriana

The two anaemic-looking shoots which, to my excitement, emerged so early in the year have now withered and died. It has since put up some much healthier looking leaves.

corydalis ledebouriana leonticoides

Corydalis verticillaris

Slightly later into growth than the other three species, this is now making slow but steady progress.

corydalis verticillaris

What with the the Leonticoides section Corydalis starting to flower inside the greenhouse, and signs of growth outside in the garden, there should be plenty to see here soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a good attempt at documenting some of the goings on. Until next time: cheerio!

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