Corydalis DC.

Corydalis nana Royle

This species is accepted, and its native range is W. & Central Himalaya to S. Tibet.


Pusalkar, P.K. Kew Bull (2011) 66: 545.

Least Concern (LC).
India, possibly China and Nepal. Lidén (1989) and Zhang et al. (2008) referred specimens from China and Nepal erroneously considered as Corydalis nana. These specimens actually belong to the newly described C. magni, and yellow-flowered specimens are yet to be recorded from China and Nepal. However, true C. nana can be expected to occur in Chinese and Nepalese territory adjoining the Indian border, so specimens previously determined as C. nana will need to be re-examined in light of these recent observations.
Locally common amidst boulders and on bare scree, in and around glacial moraines, the lower ⅔ of stem being hidden between boulders and rocks with the spreading foliage forming a rosette; alt. 3600 – 6000 m. This species is an important component of the periglacial flora of the western Himalaya.
Morphology General Habit
Perennial herb, 4 – 15 cm high ⅓ aerial part of the stem); roots long, slender, taproot-like, 1.5 – 3.8 mm thick, crowned with 1 – few, oblong-ovate to lanceolate, membranous, sheathing petiole bases of withered basal leaves; stem(s) 1 – few, simple or branched above, arising from the axis of basal leaves; erect to ascending, glaucous
Morphology Leaves
Foliage apparently somewhat spongy, grey or greyish-green; basal leaves 2 – 10, in lax to dense rosette, prostrately or patently spreading, long petioled; petioles 8 – 15 cm long, slender, flexuose, narrowly winged along margins with broadened, sheathing base; lamina 3-pinnatisect, ovate to oblong-elliptic in outline, 4 – 7 jugate with terminal pinna, 4 – 8 × 1 – 8 cm; primary pinnae petiolulate in lower part, sessile above, opposite, subopposite to alternate, variously and unequally segmented; secondary pinnae opposite to alternate, shortly petiolulate to sessile, ovate, obovate, oblong-elliptic to suborbicular in outline, 5 – 12 × 5 – 15 mm, unequally segmented; ultimate segments elliptic–oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 2 – 10 × 1 – 2 mm (usually 2 mm or less broad), apex acute, purple-tipped, margins entire, surfaces glaucous Cauline leaves 2 – 3 ( – 4), petiolate below, subsessile above, similar to basal leaves but smaller; lower often in opposite or subopposite pairs, located in middle of the stem or in upper half; upper (if present) alternate
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers 12 – 18 mm long, yellow; upper petal hood green, later often turning purplish-brown; dorsal and lateral wings yellow, sometimes flushed with purple in apical part; spur yellow or yellow-flushed or tinged with purple towards tip; lower petal colour similar to upper petals; inner petals black-tipped, pale yellow in basal part and wings black above, yellow towards base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Androecium Stamens
Stamens 6, in two bundles of 3 stamens each; each bundle with central dithecous and lateral monothecous anthers; filaments fused (for most of the part, only slightly free for 0.3 – 0.8 mm in the region of stylar curvature) into white, scarious, membranous sheath (phalange) with anthers reaching the stigma; anthers yellowish, oblong, 0.3 – 0.5 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Sepals 2 (a single pair of opposite sepals), minute, white, membranous, triangular-ovate or ovate-cordate, 0.8 – 1 × 0.8 – 1.2 mm, margins dentate or fimbriate-dentate, sometimes somewhat torn, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Upper (posterior or posticous) petal 12 – 18 mm long; lamina 8 – 12 mm long, obliquely erect, apex subacute, laterally narrowly winged, dorsally winged; dorsal wing ⅓ to ⅘ the length of upper petal, up to the spur base or even slightly extended on spur base, sometimes smaller, not reaching spur, up to 5 mm broad, variable [*see note below], of unequal width, narrowed to moderately broad on hood, but abruptly broadened, somewhat triangular on neck, sometimes winged only on neck with wingless hood; upper petal base spurred; spur 4 – 5.8 mm long (usually ⅓) as long as upper petal OR ½ as long as upper petal lamina), straight or with slight downward bent, equally and moderately broad throughout or slightly tapered and slender towards the tip, apex obtuse, base nectariferous; nectary internal, linear, ⅔ to ⅘ the spur length, fused with basal spur wall for nearly ⅘ the nectary length of the spur, with distal, 0.5 – 1.2 mm long, free clavate head located 1 – 2 mm behind spur tip Lower (anterior or anticous) petal 8 – 10 mm long; lamina 3.5 – 5 mm long, deflexed, concave with spreading lateral wings and narrow dorsal wing in terminal ⅔ portion, apex subacute to obtuse; base 4 – 5 mm long, not saccate Inner petals 2, similar, cohering at tip forming covering around stamen and carpel, 6 – 9 mm long; lamina 3 – 5 mm long, black-tipped (except for pale obtuse mucronate tip), base clawed, dorsally winged on back; base 3 – 4 mm long, narrowed towards base
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Gynoecium Ovary
Ovary ellipsoid or oblanceolate, somewhat flattened laterally or narrowly biconvex; style 2.8 – 4 mm long, usually shorter than ovary, apically curved (nearly at the right angle) upwards; stigmas dilated, flattened, 0.7 – 1.2 mm long and broad, with terminal, lateral and basal pappillose lobes
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsules narrow obovoid to obovoid, 6 – 12 × 1.5 – 2.8 mm, glaucous, with persistent style and stigma; seeds 4 – 5, black, subbiseriate, lenticular, 0.7 – 1 mm across, glossy, base with attached caruncle.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Inflorescence terminal, 5 – 15-flowered, 2 – 6 cm long, usually flat-topped, simple or compound corymbose raceme, appearing to overtop foliage; lateral corymbs 2 – 7-flowered, on 1 – 4.5 cm long peduncle; bracts (if present) similar to upper cauline leaves, sessile, narrower; bracteoles flabellate, much dissected into linear segments, 10 – 25 mm long, up to 28 mm broad, glaucous; pedicels slender, suberect to slightly spreading, 10 – 25 mm long, equalling or exceeding bracteoles, apically thickened; fruiting pedicels apically hooked
A wide range of forms were observed in the dorsal wing/crest of upper petal of Corydalis nana as follows: (1) narrow at apex and on hood, abruptly broadened at neck, not reaching spur base (Fig. 1P1); (2) narrow at apex and hood, abruptly broadened at neck and reaching spur base (Fig. 1P2); (3) apparently absent [very narrow] from hood, abruptly broadened at neck, not reaching spur base (Fig. 1P3); (4) absent from hood, moderately broad only at neck, not reaching spur base or winged at neck only (Fig. 1P4); (5) narrow on hood, narrowly broadened at neck, not reaching spur base (Fig. 1P5); (6) absent from hood, abruptly broadened at neck, reaching spur base (Fig. 1P6); (7) absent from hood, narrowly broadened at neck, extended up to or slightly onto base of spur (Fig. 1P7); (8) moderately broad from apex, broadened at neck, terminating abruptly and not reaching spur base (Fig. 1P8).
Flowering July (late) – September; fruiting August – September.

Native to:

Nepal, Tibet, West Himalaya

Corydalis nana Royle appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Sep 17, 1920 Strachey, R. [17], India K000653623 Unknown type material Yes
s.coll. [127], India K000653626 Unknown type material Yes
s.coll. [227] K000653624 Yes
Jacquemont, V. [729], India K000653625 Yes

First published in Ill. Bot. Himal. Mts.: 68 (1834)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.
  • Pusalkar, P.K. (2011 publ. 2012). The Corydalis nana complex (Fumariaceae sect. Latiflorae) in Western Himalaya Kew Bulletin 66: 545-555. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2008). Flora of China 7: 1-499. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).


Kew Bulletin

  • (1834: 68); Ellis & Balakrishnan (1993: 67); C. ramosa Hook. f. & Thomson var. nana (Royle) Hook. f. & Thomson (Hooker & Thomson 1855: 267, 1872: 125).
  • Ellis, J. L. & Balakrishnan, N. P. (1993). Corydalis DC. In: B. D. Sharma & N. P. Balakrishnan (eds), Flora of India 2 (Brassicaceae-Caryophyllaceae): 35 – 77. Botanical Survey of India, Calcutta.
  • Greuter, W., Brummitt, R. K., Farr, E., Kilian, N., Kirk, P. M. & Silva, P. C. (1993). NCU-3 : Names in Current Use for Extant Plant Genera. Koeltz Scientific Books, Königstein.
  • Hooker, J. D. & Thomson, T. (1855). Fumariaceae. Flora Indica 1 (Ranunculaceae-Fumariaceae): 258 – 272. W. Pamplin, London.
  • Hooker, J. D. & Thomson, T. (1872). Corydalis DC. In: J. D. Hooker, Flora of British India 1: 121 – 127. L. Reeve & Co., London.
  • Jafri, S. M. H. (1974). Corydalis DC. In: E. Nasir & S. I. Ali (eds), Flora of West Pakistan, 73: 1 – 38. PARC, Islamabad.
  • Lidén, M. (1989). Corydalis DC. (Papaveraceae-Fumarioideae) in Nepal. Bull. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.), Bot. 18: 479 – 538.
  • Long, D. G. (1984). Corydalis Ventenat. In: A. J. C. Grierson & D. G. Long (eds), Flora of Bhutan 1 (2): 384 – 400. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
  • McNeill, J., Barrie, F. R., Burdet, H. M., Demoulin, V., Hawksworth, D. L., Marhold, K., Nicholson, D. H., Prado, J., Silva, P. C., Skog, J. E., Wiersema, J. H. & Turland, N. J. (eds) (2006). International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Vienna Code). Regnum Veg. 146. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag KG, Ruggell, Liechtenstein.
  • Polunin, O. & Stainton, A. (1984). Flowers of the Himalaya. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
  • Popov, M. G. (1937). Corydalis Medik. In: V. L. Komarov & B. K. Shishkin (eds), Flora of the USSR, Vol. VII (Ranales & Rhoedales): 649 – 705. Moscow, Leningrad. [English Translation (1985) by Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh publ., Dehradun & Koeltz Scientific Books, vol. 7: 496 – 541].
  • Prain, D. (1896). NoviciaeIndicaeX : Some Additional Fumariaceae. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, Part 2, Nat. Hist. 65: 10 – 41.
  • Press, J. R., Shrestha, K. K. & Sutton, D. A. (2000). Annotated Checklist of the Flowering Plants of Nepal, pp. 228 – 231. Natural History Museum, London.
  • Royle, J. F. (1834). Illustrations of the Botany and other branches of the Natural History of the Himalayan Mountains and of the Flora of Cashmere. London.
  • Srivastava, R. C. (1998). Flora of Sikkim (Ranunculaceae to Moringaceae). Orientale Enterprises, Dehradun.
  • Stainton, A. (1988). Flowers of the Himalaya — A Supplement. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
  • Wendelbo, P. (1974). Corydalis . In: K. H. Rechinger (ed.), Flora Des IranischenHochlandes Und der UmrahmendenGebirge, 110: 1 – 32. AkademischeDruck-u. Verlagsantalt, Graz.
  • Zhang, M. L., Su, Z. Y. & Lidén, M. (2008). Corydalis DC. In: Z. Y. Wu, P. H. Raven & D. Y. Hong (eds), Flora of China 7 (Menispermaceae through Capparaceae): 295 – 428. Science Press, Beijing & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Pusalkar, P.K. (2011 publ. 2012). The Corydalis nana complex (Fumariaceae sect. Latiflorae) in Western Himalaya Kew Bulletin 66: 545-555. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2008). Flora of China 7: 1-499. Science Press (Beijing) & Missouri Botanical Garden Press (St. Louis).

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

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  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Bulletin

    Kew Bulletin

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.