The seeds of golden corydalis have a nutrient-rich appendage, or aril, typically found in plant wildflower species attractive to ants. The ants collect the arils, which in turn serves to disperse the seeds. The corms of Corydalis and related plants contain alkaloids used in traditional Native American and Chinese medicines.
In New York there are 9 verified, current locations for golden corydalis; 3 of these occurrences are very small. There are about 10 historical locations need to be checked.
The transitory nature of this species, which may appear for only a few years following a disturbance but persist in the seed bank and re-appear when conditions are favorable, make it difficult to track at any given location.
More inventory of historical locations is needed in order to better assess long-term trends for New York populations of this species.
Changes in disturbance regime (both natural and human disturbance) could threaten occurrences of this species.
Regular disturbance may be needed for populations of golden corydalis to persist over time.
Additional inventory of historical sites, as well as monitoring of extant sites as conditions change, is needed.
In New York golden corydalis is known primarily from dry, rocky calcareous sites, including alvar and limestone pavements, barrens, summits, and woodlands (New York Natural heritage program 2007). In other states it also occurs on gravelly shores, rock ledges and summits, piney woodlands, and disturbed sites such as clearings, trails, and gravel or sand pits (Voss 1985, Rhoads and Block 2000).
There are scattered locations in eastern New York from Canada to Long Island, as well as sites in Jefferson and Tompkins counties further west.
Golden corydalis is best identified when in flower.
Corydalis flavula, the only other yellow-flowered corydalis in New York, has similar leaves but its flowers are about half the size of those of C. aurea, and have a prominent crest or wing on the outer petal not found in golden corydalis. Corydalis flavula also is typically found in wetter and/or less open sites than C. aurea.
Golden corydalis may grow alongside Corydalis sempervirens (Rock Harlequin, or Pale Corydalis), which has pink to purplish flowers. In vegetative form C. aurea differs from C. sempervirens by its less glacous leaves and stems, more sprawling habit, and more finely dissected leaves.
Golden corydalis may be found flowering from May into September; fresh flowers found in late summer may be the product of fruit from early-blooming plants of the same season. The leaves senesce but persist into flowering and fruiting. Flowering specimens are best for identification and collection purposes.
The time of year you would expect to find Golden Corydalis flowering and fruiting in New York.
Corydalis aurea Willd.
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Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
House, Homer D. 1924. Annotated list of the ferns and flowering plants of New York State. New York State Museum Bulletin 254:1-758.
Mitchell, R. S. 1983. Berberodaceae through Fumariaceae of New York State. New York State Museum Bull. 451: 1-66.
Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.
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New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.
Rhoads, Ann F. and Timothy A. Block. 2000. The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.
Smith, Gerald A. No date. Bird breeding season survey at El Dorado Beach Preserve 1981-.
Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan Flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae - Cornaceae). Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 724 pp.
Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York
Information for this guide was last updated on: January 5, 2009
Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Corydalis aurea. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/golden-corydalis/. Accessed March 19, 2019.