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Key to families | Table of families and genera

Specimen numbers are hyperlinked to records in the Consortium of California Herbaria data view where possible. Taxa are hyperlinked to entries in the Jepson Interchange via the "[Online Interchange]" link.

 

DELPHINIUM LARKSPUR

Jason A. Koontz & Michael J. Warnock


Perennial herb; root generally < 10 cm, ± fibrous or fleshy; rootstock buds in life generally obscure (0 or obscure on herbarium specimens). Stem: erect, generally 1, generally unbranched; base generally ± as wide as, generally firmly attached to root, generally ± red or purple. Leaf: simple, basal and cauline, petioled; blades generally palmately lobed, deep lobes generally 3–5, generally < 6 mm wide, generally also lobed; cauline proximal generally dry, generally 0 in flower, distal merging into bracts. Inflorescence: raceme or ± branched, terminal; flowers generally 10–25; pedicels generally ± spreading. Flower: bilateral; sepals 5, petal-like, generally spreading, generally ± dark blue, uppermost spurred; petals 4, << sepals, upper 2 with nectar-secreting spurs enclosed in uppermost sepal, lower 2 clawed, with blades (limbs) generally 4–8 mm, 2-lobed, generally ± perpendicular to claws, generally colored like sepals, generally obviously hairy especially on lobes proximally, inner and outer lobes of each blade generally equally hairy; pistils 3(5). Fruit: follicles 3(5), erect, length generally 2.5–4 × width. Seed: generally winged in youth, collar inflated at widest end or generally not, dark brown to black, generally appearing white; coat cell margins generally straight.
± 300 species: arctic, northern temperate, subtropics, tropical mountains worldwide; 3 commonly cultivated as ornamental in North America. (Latin: dolphin, from bud shape) Most species highly TOXIC, attractive to, killing many cattle, fewer horses, sheep. {hort link} Hybrids common, especially in disturbed places. Root length is of coarse parts only.
Unabridged references: [Lewis & Epling 1954 Brittonia 8:1–22]

Key to Delphinium

1. Plant with all the following: sepals pink to deep rose-pink; fruit erect; pedicels ± ascending, hairs glandular, yellow; angle between claw and blade on lower petals > 130°; s Sierra Nevada, w edge Mojave Desert ..... D. purpusii

1' Plant with at least 1 exception to character states at 1.

2. Leaf blade base tapered, lobes few, < 50% to petiole; serpentine streambanks, chaparral, grassland ..... D. uliginosum

2' Leaf blade base cordate, truncate, or rounded, lobes (3)5–many, > 50% to petiole; generally not on serpentine

3. Sepals ± red or yellow; blade of lower petals angled 140–180° to claw, hairs ± 0 to naked eye

4. Seed without inflated collar; fruit ± straight; plants of ± dry sites; South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California, w edge Sonoran Desert ..... D. cardinale

4' Seed with inflated collar at widest end: fruit curved; plants of moist sites; Outer South Coast Ranges & n

5. Sepals bright yellow ..... D. luteum

5' Sepals scarlet to orange-red (dull yellow) ..... D. nudicaule

3' Sepals generally variously blue, occasionally white, green-white, lavender, maroon, purple, or pink but not red or yellow; blade of lower petals angled 60–130° to claw, hairs apparent to naked eye

6. Plant with all the following: inflorescence ± 1-sided; flower generally on and after 15 June; 1800–2600 m; stem generally 7–40(60) cm; pedicels ascending; seed winged, without inflated collar at widest end; root < 5 cm; High Cascade Range, n&c High Sierra Nevada, Warner Mountains ..... D. depauperatum

6' Plant with 2 or more exceptions to character states at 6.

7. Seed with inflated collar at widest end, unwinged; fruit ± curved; inflorescence in mid-flower with generally < 6 flowers on main axis or oldest open-flowered pedicels generally > 25 mm and > 2 × youngest

8. Most leaves on distal 2/3 of stem; stem (40)50–120(180) cm; flowers on main inflorescence axis generally > 15

9. Leaf lobe tips crenate; n Central Coast, n San Francisco Bay Area (Marin Co.) ..... D. bakeri

9' Leaf lobe tips sharply, irregularly cut; North Coast, Outer North Coast Ranges (n of Sonoma Co.) ..... D. trolliifolium

8' Most leaves on proximal 2/3 of stem; stem < 50(90) cm; flowers on main inflorescence axis generally < 20

10. Sepals dark blue-purple (generally faded, mottled on herbarium specimens), puberulent abaxially, generally not reflexed; proximal stem hairy; lower petal blades 6–11 mm ..... D. decorum

11. Leaf generally with 5 lobes > 50% to petiole; < 200 m; open coastal grassland, chaparral ..... subsp. decorum

11' Leaf generally with > 5 lobes > 50% to petiole; 700–2300 m; meadows in montane forest ..... subsp. tracyi

10' Sepals generally bright blue to white or pink (generally neither faded nor mottled on herbarium specimens), generally glabrous, generally reflexed; proximal stem glabrous to puberulent; lower petal blades 3–11 mm (if sepals ± purple, puberulent abaxially, not reflexed, then proximal stem ± glabrous or lower petal blade < 6 mm)

12. Leaf ± fleshy; plant restricted to moist talus slopes ..... D. antoninum

12' Leaf not fleshy; plant not restricted to moist talus slopes

13. Leaf with >= 6 lobes > 50% to petiole, < 7 mm wide; pedicels glabrous or puberulent; High Sierra Nevada and n ..... D. nuttallianum

13' Leaf with <= 5 lobes > 50% to petiole, generally > 7 mm wide; pedicels glabrous to glandular or glandular-puberulent (if > 5 lobes > 50% to petiole, then pedicels puberulent); Sierra Nevada, Inner South Coast Ranges and s

14. Terminal leaf lobe widest above middle; pedicel at 70–90° angle to axis; leaf lobes generally 5 ..... D. gracilentum

14' Terminal leaf lobe widest near middle; pedicel at generally < 70° angle to axis; leaf lobes 3–10 ..... D. patens

15. Lobes of proximal leaves generally > 1.5 cm wide; basal, proximal cauline leaves generally cut < 80% to petiole — Outer South Coast Ranges, Southwestern California (except Channel Islands) ..... subsp. hepaticoideum

15' Lobes of proximal leaves generally < 1.5 cm wide; basal (if present), proximal cauline leaves generally cut > 80% to petiole

16. Pedicels puberulent ..... subsp. montanum

16' Pedicels generally glabrous ..... subsp. patens

7' Seed generally without inflated collar (except Delphinium andersonii), winged or not; fruit ± straight; inflorescence in mid-flower with generally > 6 flowers on main axis or oldest open-flowered pedicel generally < 25 mm or < 2 × youngest

17. Stems generally > 1 m, generally >= 2; enlarged rootstock buds in life generally ± white, brown on herbarium specimens

18. Flower generally June or earlier; sepals ± lavender or ± green-white, puberulent; < 1100 m ..... D. californicum

19. Sepals ± lavender; main inflorescence axis puberulent; upper petals ± hairy ..... subsp. californicum

19' Sepals ± green-white; main inflorescence axis ± glabrous; upper petals ± glabrous ..... subsp. interius

18' Flower generally July or later; sepals generally ± blue, ± canescent; <= 3600 m (if sepals ± lavender or ± green- white, then > 1100 m)

20. Leaves present on proximal 1/5 of stem in flower

21. Flower spur 9–12 mm; sepals white to light blue ..... D. inopinum

21' Flower spur 11–22 mm; sepals dark blue ..... D. polycladon

20' Leaves generally 0 on proximal 1/5 of stem in flower

22. Sepals ± purple-blue, abaxial midline not lighter; proximal stem glaucous; Klamath Ranges, High Sierra Nevada, San Gabriel Mountains, San Bernardino Mountains, n East of Sierra Nevada ..... D. glaucum

22' Sepals ± bright blue, abaxial midline lighter due to hairs; proximal stem puberulent; Warner Mountains ..... D. stachydeum

17' Stem generally < 1 m, generally 1; enlarged rootstock buds generally 0

23. Proximal petiole hairs > 0.5 mm, straight, spreading, white, and some not

24. Seeds fine-prickly, fuzzy to naked eye; lateral sepals 7–13 mm; flowers generally > 12 on main axis ..... D. hansenii

25. Sepals violet-purple to maroon — Sierra Nevada Foothills, San Joaquin Valley ..... subsp. ewanianum

25' Sepals dark blue-purple to white or pink

26. Basal leaves generally 0 in flower; cauline leaves >= 3; Inner North Coast Ranges, Cascade Range Foothills, Sierra Nevada Foothills, c&s High Sierra Nevada, Sacramento Valley ..... subsp. hansenii

26' Basal leaves present but generally dry in flower (so 0 on herbarium specimens); cauline leaves generally <= 2; s Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, w edge Mojave Desert ..... subsp. kernense

24' Seeds not prickly, not fuzzy to naked eye; lateral sepals 10–25 mm; flowers generally < 12 on main axis

27. Lower petal blade margin hairs 0; sepal spur tip generally down-curved > 3 mm; stem 25–100 cm — Central Coast (c Monterey Co.) ..... D. hutchinsoniae

27' Lower petal blade margin hairs present; sepal spur straight or tip down-curved < 3 mm; stem generally < 50 cm ..... D. variegatum

28. Plant of mainland — sepals generally dark royal blue (white or lavender) ..... subsp. variegatum

28' Plant of Channel Islands

29. Sepals white to light blue; flower Jan–Apr; plants on 0–15° slopes ..... subsp. kinkiense

29' Sepals bright blue; flower Feb–May; plants on 15–35° slopes ..... subsp. thornei

23' Proximal petiole hairs 0–0.5 mm, or curved, or both (if some > 0.5 mm, straight, then plant of Northwestern California or San Francisco Bay Area, seeds winged)

30. Blade of each lower petal hairier on inner lobe than outer; proximal stem ± striate — lateral sepals 7–16 mm; seeds winged; sepals not reflexed; pedicels ascending at < 45° angle; Northwestern California, Cascade Range Foothills, Sacramento Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, Inner South Coast Ranges, Peninsular Ranges ..... D. hesperium

31. Lateral sepals <= 4 mm wide; c Peninsular Ranges ..... subsp. cuyamacae

31' Lateral sepals > 4 mm wide; n of Transverse Ranges

32. Sepals dark blue-purple ..... subsp. hesperium

32' Sepals white to ± pink or light blue ..... subsp. pallescens

30' Blade of each lower petal equally hairy on inner and outer lobe; proximal stem not striate

33. Seed coat cell margins wavy, ± visible at 10× when held to light; fruit length generally <= 3 × width; sepals light blue to pink or white

34. Plant of grassland, open woodland; sepals white to ± pink or light blue, rarely reflexed; stem 30–150 cm ..... D. gypsophilum

34' Plant of generally deserts, scrub, juniper woodland (grassland); sepals white to pink or light, ± sky, or dark blue, especially lateral generally reflexed (spreading to erect in Delphinium parishii subsp. pallidum, spreading in Delphinium parishii subsp. subglobosum); stem < 78(95) cm

35. Plant of fine, alkaline soil; sepals generally light blue; lower petals white — Great Central Valley, s Inner South Coast Ranges (Caliente Range), w Mojave Desert ..... D. recurvatum

35' Plant of generally coarse, not very alkaline soil; sepals white or pink to ± sky or dark blue; lower petals same color as sepals ..... D. parishii

36. Sepals ± sky blue, lateral reflexed — s High Sierra Nevada, Tehachapi Mountain Area, Transverse Ranges, East of Sierra Nevada, Desert ..... subsp. parishii

36' Sepals white or pink or blue to dark blue, not sky blue, lateral not reflexed

37. Generally flower after 20 May; sepals white to pink or blue; sw San Joaquin Valley, Inner South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges ..... subsp. pallidum

37' Generally flower before 20 May; sepals dark blue; w Sonoran Desert ..... subsp. subglobosum

33' Seed coat cell margins straight, ± visible at 10× when held to light; fruit length generally > 3× width; sepals blue to dark blue

38. Green leaves generally present on proximal 1/5 of stem in flower; proximal stem, petioles ± glabrous

39. In flower, basal leaves 4–10, cauline 1–4, lobes 3–5(9), shorter lobes 0.5–6 cm, lobe tips rounded — Sonoran Desert ..... D. scaposum

39' In flower, basal leaves 0–3, cauline 3–7, lobes 3–30, longer lobes 2–6 cm, lobe tips tapered to point

40. Lobes of proximal leaves > 4 mm wide; lateral sepals reflexed; Outer South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges ..... D. umbraculorum

40' Lobes of proximal leaves < 4 mm wide; lateral sepals rarely reflexed; High Cascade Range, ne High Sierra Nevada, Great Basin Floristic Province ..... D. andersonii

38' Green leaves generally 0 on proximal 1/5 of stem in flower; proximal stem, petioles ± puberulent — Tehachapi Mountain Area, San Joaquin Valley, Central Western California, Southwestern California ..... D. parryi

41. Basal leaves generally 0 in flower

42. Lateral sepals generally 16–25 mm ..... subsp. blochmaniae

42' Lateral sepals 9–15 mm ..... subsp. parryi

41' Basal leaves generally present in flower

43. Plant from > 700 m ..... subsp. purpureum

43' Plant from < 700 m

44. Sepals generally reflexed ..... subsp. eastwoodiae

44' Sepals generally spreading ..... subsp. maritimum

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Citation for an individual treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] [year]. [Taxon name] in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, [URL for treatment]. Accessed on [month, day, year].
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