Larkspur – Delphinium glaucum

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Alaska Wildflowers | Purple

Many purple flowers on a larkspur (delphinium glaucum) in Alaska.

Larkspur

Delphinium glaucum S. Watson
Mountain larkspur
Sierra larkspur
Glaucous larkspur
Giant larkspur

Genus: Delphinium
Family: Ranunculaceae
Order: Ranunculales (buttercups)

Type: Perennial
Not Edible: Very poisonous. The entire plant is toxic. Fatal to humans and animals.

Identification

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

The larkspur is a tall, single stem flowering plant that grows 3-6 ft (0.9-1.8 m) in height. The stem is an inflorescence of densely flowered containing a few to over 50 flowers. 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.

Larkspur is frequently found in meadows and lightly wooded areas with deep, moist soil. Similar in look to monkshood, but without the hood. Larkspur 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.

Alaska Wildflowers Overview

References

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 7
Delphinium glaucum, Wildflower.org Plant Database
Delphinium glaucum, ITIS database
Larkspur (Delphinium spp.) , USDA Poisionous Plant Research

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