Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spring Flowers: Pink Corydalis or Rock Harlequin

Capnoides semipervirens (Pink Corydalis or Rock Harlequin) is an interesting little flower.  The small narrow pink flowers have yellow tips and grow in clusters on the ends of the bushy plants' branches.  In the Mid-Atlantic, it blooms in late spring and early summer in the mountains, often in dry, rocky areas.  It is also adapted to colonizing disturbed areas, such as burned areas, roadsides and the edges of trails.  The colonies tend to decline after a few years with no disturbance. 

It occurs throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada, except Florida.  I have most often seen it on granite outcrops on Old Rag, but it is fairly common in the mountains in the Mid-Atlantic.  It is listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern in six states:  Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
Capnoides semipervirens on Old Rag Mountain (Shenandoah National Park 2010).  I have found C. semipervirens to be challenging to photograph.  It seems like the wind is always blowing when I find them, making it hard to get a clear picture. 
C. semipervirens on the Appalachian Trail at the south end of the 100 Mile Wilderness in Maine (2009).
Another example from Old Rag (2009).


  1. Great post. I find your blog an awesome resource and often revisit as a reference. Like so many wildflowers seeing these in the wild is a real treat. The Rock Harlequin name is new to me and in my opinion more romantic than Pink Corydalis. There was a lot of this up on Old Rag located in a large pocket (several hundred square feet) of shallow (1-18 inches) soil sitting on top of what otherwise was open granite rock slab at the viewpoint just above the Chute.

  2. Thanks! I love researching the flower posts because I learn a lot in the process. I am glad other people enjoy them, too. There are a bunch of these along the edge of the outcrop on the first false summit on Old Rag, too.