Larkspur – Delphinium glaucum

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Alaska Wildflowers | Purple

Larkspur

Delphinium glaucum

Common Names

Mountain larkspur
Sierra larkspur

Glaucous larkspur
Giant larkspur
Brown’s larkspur
Hooker’s larkspur
Duncecap larkspur
Tower larkspur
Western larkspur

Synonyms

Delphinium scopulorum
Delphinium brownii
Delphinium cucullatum

Delphinium occidentale ssp. cucullatum
Delphinium scopulorum var. glaucum

Subspecies

none

Genus: Delphinium
Family: Ranunculaceae
Order: Ranunculales
Full Classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

Identification and Information

Flower: Purple, bell-shaped, 5 spurred petals
Leaves: Long, narrow, green, 5 lobed leaves
Root: Woody

Larkspur is a tall, single stem flowering plant that grows 3-6 ft (0.9-1.8 m) in height. The stem is a densely flowered inflorescence containing a few to over 50 flowers. Similar in look to monkshood, but without the hood. The hollow stem is often purplish in color. The leaves are green, toothed, narrow, and long and packed most densely at the base, getting smaller and fewer higher up. The spurred flowers are long, conical or bell-shaped, and purple or blue-purple.

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Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

The entire plant is highly poisonous, especially the seeds. Can be fatal to humans and animals.

There are no edible or medicinal uses for larkspur. Delphinium glaucum has been known to kill, causing neuromuscular paralysis in cattle and sometimes sheep or horses in western states as it is incredibly toxic, especially before maturity. The seeds are among the most toxic part of the plant. Parasiticides have been made from the leaves of a variety of plants in the Delphinium genus, which could be used only externally.

Distribution and Habitat

Delphinium glaucum is native to Alaska and the majority of the western US and Canada. Larkspur is frequently found in meadows and lightly wooded areas with deep, moist soil.

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae  (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae  (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta  (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta  (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina  (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderRanunculanae 
                        OrderRanunculales 
                           FamilyRanunculaceae  (buttercups, boutons d’or, crowfoot)
                              GenusDelphinium L. (larkspur)
                                 SpeciesDelphinium glaucum S. Watson (tower larkspur, mountain larkspur, Sierra larkspur)

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 7

Classification and Taxonomy

D. glaucum S. Watson Taxonomic Serial No.: 18458, ITIS database

D. glaucum S. Watson, Sierra larkspur, USDA Database

Uses

Larkspur (Delphinium spp.), USDA Poisonous Plant Research

Map and Distribution

D. glaucum S.Watson, GBIF

Description and Information

D. glaucum, Wildflower.org Plant Database

7. D. glaucum S. Watson, Bot. California. 2: 427. 1880., Flora of North America; www.eFloras.org

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