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Delphinium staphisagria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Delphinium

See text

Larkspur on high mountain rangelands in central Utah.

Delphinium is a genus of about 300 species of perennial flowering plants in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native throughout the Northern Hemisphere and also on the high mountains of tropical Africa.[1] The common name, Larkspur, is shared with the closely related genus Consolida.

The leaves are deeply lobed with 3-7 toothed, pointed lobes in a palmate shape. The main flowering stem is erect, and varies greatly in size between the species, from 10 centimeters in some alpine species, up to 2 meters tall in the larger meadowland species; it is topped with a raceme of many flowers, varying in color from purple and blue to red, yellow or white. The flower has five petal-like sepals which grow together to form a hollow pocket with a spur at the end, which gives the plant its name. Within the sepals are four true petals. The seeds are small and often shiny black. The plants flower from late spring to late summer, and are pollinated by butterflies and bumble bees. Most species are toxic.[2] Despite the toxicity, Delphinium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Dot Moth and Small Angle Shades.

Other names are, lark's heel (Shakespeare), lark's claw and knight's spur. The scientific name comes from the Latin for dolphin, alluding to the shape of the opening flower.[2]



The Forking Larkspur (Delphinium consolida) prefers chalky loams. It grows wild in cornfields, but has become very rare nowadays. The flowers are commonly purple, but a white variety exists as well.

Baker's larkspur (Delphinium bakeri) and Yellow larkspur (D. luteum), both native to very restricted areas of California, are highly endangered species.

Cultivation and uses

A modern hybrid Delphinium cultivar selected for garden use

Many species are cultivated as garden plants and for flower arrangements, with numerous cultivars available.[3]

All parts of the plant contain an alkaloid delphinine and are very poisonous, causing vomiting when eaten, and death in larger amounts. In small amounts, extracts of the plant have been used in herbal medicine. Gerard's Herbal reports that drinking the seed of larkspur was thought to help against the stings of scorpions, and that other poisonous animals could not move when covered by the herb, but does not believe it himself. Grieve's herbal reports that the seeds can be used against parasites, especially lice and their nits in the hair. A tincture is used against asthma and dropsy. The juice of the flowers, mixed with alum, gives a blue ink. The plant was connected to Saint Odile and in popular medicine used against eye diseases. It was one of the herbs used on the feast of St. John and as such warded against lightning. In Transylvania, it was used to keep witches from the stables, probably because of its black color.

Larkspur, especially tall larkspur, is a significant cause of cattle poisoning on rangelands in the western United States.[4] Larkspur is more common in high-elevation areas, and many ranchers will delay moving cattle onto such ranges until late summer when the toxicity of the plants is reduced.[5] Death is through cardiotoxic and neuromuscular blocking effects, and can occur within a few hours of ingestion. [6]


Species include:

  • Delphinium alabamicum : Alabama Larkspur
  • Delphinium alpestre : Colorado Larkspur
  • Delphinium altissimum
  • Delphinium andersonii : Anderson's Larkspur
  • Delphinium andesicola : Chiricahua Mountain Larkspur
  • Delphinia antoninum : Tracy's Larkspur
  • Delphinium bakeri: Baker's Delphinium
  • Delphinium barbeyi : Subalpine Larkspur
  • Delphinium basalticum : Basalt Larkspur
  • Delphinium bicolor : Little Larkspur
  • Delphinium brachycentrum : Northern Larkspur
  • Delphinium brownii
  • Delphinium brunonianum
  • Delphinium bulleyanum
  • Delphinium caeruleum
  • Delphinium californicum : California Larkspur
  • Delphinium cardinale
  • Delphinium carolinianum : Carolina Larkspur
  • Delphinium cashmerianum
  • Delphinium chamissonis : Chamisso's Larkspur
  • Delphinium cheilanthum
  • Delphinium consolida
  • Delphinium corymbosum
  • Delphinium decorum : Coastal Larkspur
  • Delphinium delavayi
  • Delphinium denudatum
  • Delphinium depauperatum : Slim Larkspur
  • Delphinium dictyocarpum
  • Delphinium distichum : Twospike Larkspur
  • Delphinium duhmbergii
  • Delphinium elatum : Candle Larkspur
  • Delphinium exaltatum : Tall Larkspur
  • Delphinium fissum
  • Delphinium formosum
  • Delphinium geraniifolium : Clark Valley Larkspur
  • Delphinium geyeri : Geyer's Larkspur
  • Delphinium glareosum : Olympic Larkspur
  • Delphinium purpusii : Kern County Larkspur
  • Delphinium pylzowii
  • Delphinium ramosum : Mountain Larkspur
  • Delphinium recurvatum : Byron Larkspur
  • Delphinium requienii
  • Delphinium robustum : Wahatoya Creek Larkspur
  • Delphinium roylei
  • Delphinium sapellonis : Sapello Canyon Larkspur
  • Delphinium scaposum : Tall Mountain Larkspur
  • Delphinium scopulorum : Rocky Mountain Larkspur
  • Delphinium semibarbatum
  • Delphinium speciosum
  • Delphinium stachydeum : Spiked Larkspur
  • Delphinium staphisagria
  • Delphinium sutchuense
  • Delphinium sutherlandii : Sutherland's Larkspur
  • Delphinium tatsienense
  • Delphinium treleasei : Glade Larkspur
  • Delphinium tricorne : Dwarf Larkspur
  • Delphinium triste
  • Delphinium trolliifolium : Columbian Larkspur
  • Delphinium uliginosum : Swamp Larkspur
  • Delphinium umbraculorum : Umbrella Larkspur
  • Delphinium variegatum : Royal Larkspur
  • Delphinium verdunense
  • Delphinium vestitum
  • Delphinium villosum
  • Delphinium virescens
  • Delphinium viridescens : Wenatchee Larkspur
  • Delphinium viride
  • Delphinium wootonii : Organ Mountain Larkspur
  • Delphinium xantholeucum : Yellow-white Larkspur
  • Delphinium yunnanense
  • Delphinium zalil : Zalil


  1. ^ Flora of North America: Delphinium
  2. ^ a b Jepson Manual Treatment
  3. ^ Iowa State Cooperative Extension: Delphinium
  4. ^ USDA-ARS Larkspur Fact Sheet
  5. ^ Utah State University. Reducing Losses Due to Tall Larkspur Poisoning
  6. ^ Smith, Bradford (2002). Large Animal Internal Medicine - 3rd Edition, p.252. Mosby Inc, St. Louis. ISBN 0323009468


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also delphinium



Delphinium ceratophorum
Wikipedia has an article on:



From Ancient Greek δελφίς (delphis), dolphin) because of their flower shape, thought to resemble a back of a dolphin. Named by botanist Carl von Linnaeus (1707-1778).[1][2]

Proper noun


  1. (botany) a botanical name for a genus, in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. This genus contains a few hundred species of annual, biennial or perennial flowering plants, including popular garden plants (see delphinium).


  • Notes:
  1. ^ Erhardt, Walter & Götz, Erich & Bödeker, Nils & Seybold, Siegmund, Zander. Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen. Dictionary of plant names. Dictionnaire des noms de plantes, Ulmer, 2000.
  2. ^ Hyam, Roger & Pankhurst, Richard, Plants and their Names. A Concise Dictionary, Oxford University Press, US, 1995.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Unassigned Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales
Familia: Ranunculaceae
Subfamilia: Ranunculoideae
Tribus: Delphinieae
Genus: Delphinium
Species: D. albocoeruleum - D. altissimum - D. andersonii - D. bakeri - D. barbeyi - D. x belladonna - D. bicolor - D. bicornutum - D. biternatum - D. brunonianum - D. bulleyanum - D. burkei - D. californicum - D. cardinale - D. carolinianum - D. cashmerianum - D. caucasicum - D. cheilanthum - D. corymbosum - D. crispulum - D. dasyanthum - D. dasycaulon - D. decorum - D. delavayi - D. denudatum - D. duhmbergii - D. dyctyocarpum - D. elatum - D. exaltatum - D. fissum - D. flexuosum - D. formosum - D. geyeri - D. glaucescens - D. glaucum - D. grandiflorum - D. halteratum - D. hansenii - D. hesperium - D. hirticaule - D. laxiflorum - D. leroyi - D. likiangense - D. longipedunculatum - D. luteum - D. maackianum - D. macrocentron - D. menziesii - D. nuttallianum - D. nuttallii - D. x occidentale - D. ochroleucum - D. oxysepalum - D. parryi - D. pavonaceum - D. pentagynum - D. peregrinum - D. puniceum - D. pylzowii - D. ramosum - D. recurvatum - D. requienii - D. robustum - D. scabriflorum - D. scaposum - D. schmalhausenii - D. scopulorum - D. semibarbatum - D. speciosum - D. stachydeum - D. staphisagria - D. szowitsianum - D. tatsienense - D. tenuisectum - D. treleasei - D. tricorne - D. triste - D. trolliifolium - D. turkmenum - D. uncinatum - D. variegatum - D. verdunense - D. vestitum - D. villosum - D. viridescens - D. yunnanense


Delphinium L.

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Rittersporn
日本語: デルフィニウム属
Русский: Живокость
Türkçe: Hezaren


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