Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

RANUNCULACEAE

BUTTERCUP FAMILY

Dieter H. Wilken, except as specified

Annual, perennial herb, sometimes aquatic
Leaves generally basal and cauline, generally alternate, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, sometimes sheathing or stipule-like
Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers solitary
Flower generally bisexual, radial; sepals generally 5, free, early deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0–many, free; stamens generally 10–many; pistils 1–many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 1, generally ± persistent in fruit as beak, ovules 1–many
Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, or utricle-like, 1–many-seeded
Genera in family: ± 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially n temp, tropical mtns; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Erianthis, Helleborus ), some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus )
Reference: [Duncan & Keener 1991 Phytologia 70:24–27]

DELPHINIUM

LARKSPUR

Michael J. Warnock

Perennial; root generally < 10 cm, ± fibrous or fleshy; buds generally obscure
Stem generally 1, erect, generally unbranched; base generally ± as wide as root, generally firmly attached to root, generally ± reddish or purplish
Leaves simple, basal and cauline, petioled; blades generally palmately lobed, deep lobes generally 3–5, generally < 6 mm wide, generally also lobed; lower leaves generally dry, often 0 in flower; cauline merging into bracts upward
Inflorescence: raceme or somewhat 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 generally 4–8 mm, notched, generally ± perpendicular to claws, generally colored like sepals, generally obviously hairy; pistils 3(–5)
Fruit aggregate of 3(–5) erect follicles, generally 2.5–4 X longer than wide
Seed dark brown to black, often appearing white, generally winged when immature, generally without inflated collar; coat cell margins generally straight
Etymology: (Latin: dolphin, from bud shape)
Reference: [Lewis & Epling 1954 Brittonia 8:1–22]
Hybrids common, especially in disturbed places. Root length here includes coarse but not thread-like parts. Most species highly TOXIC, attractive and causing many deaths to cattle, less often to horses, sheep.
Horticultural information: Exc as noted, successful In cultivation only within natural range and habitat. Lowland subsp.: DRY. Upland species: winter chilling required.

Native

D. gracilentum Greene

Root ± spheric, diffuse- fibrous
Stem 15–80 (generally < 50) cm, narrower than root, not firmly attached to root, ± glabrous, except sometimes near base
Leaves mostly on lower 1/3 of stem, ± glabrous; lobes generally 5, generally > 6 mm at widest, generally rounded at tips, terminal widest above middle
Inflorescence: pedicels 15–45 mm, generally > 10 mm apart, glabrous to glandular-puberulent
Flower: sepals reflexed, blue to white or pink, glabrous, lateral 7–13 mm, spur 9–14 mm; lower petal blades 3–5 mm, hairier on inner lobes
Fruit 8–16 mm, curved
Seed with inflated collar at widest end, otherwise generally bumpy
Ecology: Coniferous forest
Elevation: 150–2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Sierra Nevada
Synonyms: D. pratense Eastw. (meadow larkspur); D. patens subsp. greenei (Eastw.) Ewan
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY; DFCLT.

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