Climbing Corydalis Ceratocapnos claviculata (L.) Lidén (Ranunculales, Papaveraceae) flowering on the Malvern Hills during December
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Climbing Corydalis Ceratocapnos claviculata (L.) Lidén is a well-known inhabitant of the Malvern Hills and is generally regarded as an annual (e.g. Maskew, 2014). On 31 December 2014 near the vice-county boundary at Hangman’s Wood, Malvern Hills (VC37 SO73 251m a.s.l.) I observed a number of well-established plants of C. claviculata in flower which in my experience was novel.
In their seminal work on this plant Voss et al. (2012) accepted that in some situations C. claviculata could be a ‘short-term perennial’ and it may be that this explains the situation in this case. This is achieved ‘in some sheltered locations’ by winter survival. In Papaveraceae the same phenomenon can sometimes be observed in England in Eschscholzia in which individual plants may perennate once in suitable climatic conditions.
However during 2014 I was able to demonstrate that some plants usually regarded as annuals were able to complete two complete generations in one calendar year. Whatever the explanation for this phenomenon on the Malvern Hills it represents atypical phenology probably due mostly to climatic factors. Given that the flowers of C. claviculata are partially self-pollinated the production of seeds from this unseasonal flowering is entirely possible.
Maskew, R. 2014. The Flora of Worcestershire. 810pp. Published privately.
Voss, N., Welk, E., Durka, W. & Eckstein, R.L. 2012. Biological flora of Central Europe: Ceratocapnos claviculata (L.) Lidén. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 14: 61-77.
Fig. 1. Climbing Corydalis Ceratocapnos claviculata (L.) Lidén in flower near the vice-county boundary at Hangman’s Wood, Malvern Hills, 31 December 2014.