Corydalis aurea

Golden-smoke - Corydalis aurea
Hillsboro, New Mexico
April 7, 2020

Golden Smoke, Corydalis aurea, is a regular bloomer in our yard and in 2014 it was prolific in the washes and hillsides on the east side of the Black Range.  This species has an interesting approach to seed dispersal.  The seeds of this species are covered in an oily substance which repels mammals, mammals that might otherwise eat the seed.  The smell of the substance apparently reminds some ant species of the smell of a dead comrade, they take the seeds back to their colony and the oily substance gets eaten.  Once eaten the seed is regarded as trash and is deposited on the debris pile of the colony.  Debris piles are rich in organic material, the perfect place for a young Corydalis aurea seedling.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023