Delphinium L.
  • Sp. Pl. 1: 530. 1753. (1 May 1753)
  • Larkspur, delphinium [Greek delphinion, derived from delphin, possibly for fancied resemblance of flowers of some species to classical sculptures of dolphins]

Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2021): Delphinium L. Published on the Internet; Accessed on: 17 Oct 2021'

General Information

Herbs , perennial, from fasciculate roots or rhizomes. Leaves basal and/or cauline, petiolate, petioles gradually to abruptly shorter on distal leaves; basal leaves usually larger than cauline; cauline leaves alternate. Leaf blade deeply palmately divided, round to pentagonal or reniform, margins entire or lobes apically crenate or lacerate, lobes of basal blades wider and fewer than those of cauline blades. Inflorescences terminal, 2-100(-more)-flowered racemes (occasionally branched, thus technically panicles), 5-40 cm or more; bracts subtending inflorescence branches; pedicels present or absent; bracteoles (on pedicels) subopposite-subalternate, not forming involucre. Flowers bisexual, bilaterally symmetric; sepals not persistent in fruit, 5; upper sepal 1, spurred, 8-24 mm; lateral sepals 2, ± ovate to elliptic, 8-18 mm; lower sepals 2, similar to lateral sepals; upper petals 2, spurred, enclosed in upper sepal, nectary inside tip of spur; lower petals 2, plane, ± ovate, ± 2-lobed, clawed, 2-12 mm, nectary absent; stamens 25-40; filaments with base expanded; staminodes absent between stamens and pistils; pistils 3(-5), simple; ovules 8-20 per pistil; style present. Fruits follicles, aggregate, sessile, ± curved-cylindric, sides prominently veined or not; beak terminal, straight, 2-4 mm. Seeds dark brown to black (often appearing white because of air in seed coat cells), rectangular to pyramidal, often ± rough surfaced. x = 8.

  • Provided by: [C].Flora of North America @
    • Source: [
    • 2
    • ]. 

    Herbs perennial, rarely biennial or annual. Stem(s) erect or ascending, or much reduced. Leaves basal and/or cauline; leaf blade palmately divided. Inflorescence racemose or corymbose, sometimes only 1-flowered. Pedicels usually 2-bracteolate. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic. Sepals 5, petaloid and variously colored, upper one spurred. Petals 2, sessile, free, spurred; spur nectariferous. Staminodes 2, each usually with a slender claw and an expanded limb. Stamens numerous; filaments lanceolate-linear, 1-veined; anthers ellipsoid. Carpels 3(or 4--10); ovaries many ovulate. Styles without a distinct stigma. Follicles narrowly oblong, reticulate. Seeds obpyramidal, tetrahedral, or obovoid, narrowly winged along angles, transversely rugose, squamulose winged, lamellate, or concave reticulate.

  • Provided by: [B].Flora Of CHina @
    • Source: [
    • 3
    • ]. 

    "Fls irregular; cal corolloid, with unequal sep, the upper one prolonged backward into a spur usually equaling or surpassing the blade; pet mostly 4, the two upper very inequilateral, each with a long spur extending into the spurred sep, the two lower clawed, abruptly deflexed at the middle, often bifid; pet united into 1 in our introduced spp., with 1 spur; stamens numerous; pistils 1–5, the fr follicular; annual or perennial poisonous herbs with basal or cauline, palmately cleft lvs and a terminal, simple or branched raceme of blue to pink or white fls. (Consolida) 200, widespread."

  • Provided by: [D].New York Botanical Garden
    • Source: [
    • 4
    • ]. 


    Herbes'dressées, annuelles ou vivaces.'Feuilles'alternes, simples, palmilobées ou palmiséquées.'Inflorescences'axillaires ou terminales, en racèmes ou en panicules.'Fleurs'☿, zygomorphes, grandes, bleues, pourprées, rouges, blanches ou rarement jaunes; sépales 5, pétaloïdes, caducs, le postérieur prolongé en éperon; pétales postérieurs (ou nectaires) 2, parfois connés, chacun prolongé en un éperon situé dans l'éperon du sépale postérieur; parfois 2 pétales latéraux (ou staminodes) présents, libres, dépourvus d'éperon; étamines en nombre indéfini; carpelles 1-9, sessiles, libres, multiovulés.'Follicules .\n\t\t\t\tGenre représenté principalement dans les régions tempérées de l'hémisphère nord et comprenant environ 300 espèces dont une demi-douzaine environ, assez affines, localisées aux régions montagneuses d'Afrique tropicale; 2 espèces au Congo belge, très ornementales.

  • Provided by: [A].Flore d'Afrique Centrale
    • Source: [
    • 5
    • ]. 



    Ewan, J. 1945. A synopsis of the North American species of Delphinium. Univ. Colorado Stud., Ser. D, Phys. Sci. 2: 55-244. Lewis, H. and C. Epling. 1954. A taxonomic study of Californian delphiniums. Brittonia 8: 1-22. Taylor, R. J. 1960. The genus Delphinium in Wyoming. Univ. Wyoming Publ. 24: 9-21. Warnock, M. J. 1993. Delphinium. In: J. C. Hickman, ed. 1993. The Jepson Manual. Higher Plants of California. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London. Pp. 916-922. Warnock, M. J. 1995. A taxonomic conspectus of North American Delphinium. Phytologia 78(2): 73-101.

  • Provided by: [C].Flora of North America @
    • Source: [
    • 2
    • ]. 

    Included Species

    Other Local Names

    Larkspur, delphinium [Greek delphinion, derived from delphin, possibly for fancied resemblance of flowers of some species to classical sculptures of dolphins]


     Information From

    Flore d'Afrique Centrale
    • A Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
    Flora Of CHina @
    'Flora of China @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    • B Missouri Botanical Garden
    Flora of North America @
    'Flora of North America @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
    • C Flora of North America Association
    New York Botanical Garden
    Descriptions of plants should be attributed to the full citation for each individual article, chapter or book that is the source for each record, which should include the authors of original publication.
    • D Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
    • E CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
    World Flora Online consortium
    World Flora Online Data. 2018.
    • F CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).