In The Grow

Friend supplied more than hosta

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Fumewort in bloom

Fumewort ‘Beth Evans’ in bloom
Photo credit: T.C., Tippecanoe County

Q: A friend gave me some starts of hosta last year, and where I planted them, this lovely surprise came up early this spring. I did not plant this so I’m guessing this came as a bonus with the hostas from my friend.  Can you identify?  – T.C., Tippecanoe County

A: What a great bonus! This appears to be Corydalis solida, (common name fumewort) most likely the cultivar ‘Beth Evans’. Fumewort is a spring ephemeral, emerging in early spring with finely cut foliage resembling bleeding heart, which is in the same plant family. The plant reaches about 6-12 inches tall and with clusters of purplish pink tube-shaped flowers with spurred petals. The cultivar ‘Beth Evans’ is distinguished by bright pink blossoms with contrasting whitish/pale pink highlights.

The plant usually dies back to the ground during hot, dry weather and remains dormant as underground tubers. Plants perform best in full or part shade with rich, moist soil.  It is certainly possible that the dormant tuber hitched a ride with the hosta start. Be sure to thank your friend for the special surprise!

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Author: B. Rosie Lerner, rosie@purdue.edu
Editor: Charles Wineland, cwinelan@purdue.edu
Category: Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
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