Snake Pod Corydalis
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Snake Pod Corydalis
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Snake Pod Corydalis
Botanical name: Corydalis ophiocarpa    Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy family)
Synonyms: Capnoides ophiocarpa, Corydalis japonica

Snake Pod Corydalis is a Corydalis from eastern Himalayas. It is so named because the seed-pods look like little green eels or serpents. It is a biennial (rarely annual) herb with few to several, erect stems, 40-100 cm tall, sometimes very thick, especially at base, conspicuously winged-ridged, leafy, branched. Basal leaves are many, 10-50 cm; stalk equal to blade, winged, especially broadly so toward base. Leaf blade is oblong, double-compound, primary pinnae 4-6 pairs, secondary pinnules 2(or 3) pairs, obovate to oblong, entire to 3-5-lobed; segments 3-10 × 1-5 mm, tip blunt to rarely pointed. Lower stem leaves are like basal leaves, upper ones smaller and much more shortly stalked. Flowers are borne in 20-40-flowered spikelike racemes, 10-30 cm long, (or fewer flowered in lateral racemes). Bracts are linear-lanceshaped, 2-5 mm. Flowers are pale yellow to whitish, usually dark tipped, 1.1-1.2 cm, carried on 5-7 mm long stalks. Outer petals are blunt; spur ascending, broadly sac-like, about 3 mm. Nectary is extended through about half of spur. Inner petals are 8-10 mm, tipped with dark purple, with crest clearly extending beyond tip, claw shorter than limb. Capsule are reflexed, linear, strongly contorted, 2-3 cm × about 1.5 mm. Snake Pod Corydalis is found in eastern Himalayas, Bhutan, Sikkim, China, at altitudes of 1100-4000 m. Flowering: May-August.

Identification credit: Magnus Lidén Photographed in Lachung, Sikkim.

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