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Delphinium nudicaule

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RanunculaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, woody vine [shrub], occasionally aquatic. Leaf: generally basal and cauline, alternate or opposite, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, occasionally sheathing or stipule-like. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 3--6(20), free, early-deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0--many, generally free; stamens generally 5--many, staminodes generally 0; pistils 1--many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 0--1, generally +- persistent as beak, ovules 1--many. Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, +- utricle in Trautvetteria, in aggregate or not, 1--many-seeded.
Genera In Family: +- 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate, tropical mountains; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Helleborus, Nigella). Toxicity: some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus). Note: Taxa of Isopyrum in TJM (1993) moved to Enemion; Kumlienia moved to Ranunculus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken, family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: DelphiniumView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: LARKSPUR
Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: +- 300 species: arctic, northern temperate, subtropics, tropical mountains worldwide; 3 commonly cultivated as ornamental in North America. Etymology: (Latin: dolphin, from bud shape) Toxicity: Most species highly TOXIC, attractive to, killing many cattle, fewer horses, sheep. Note: Hybrids common, especially in disturbed places. Root length is of coarse parts only.
eFlora Treatment Author: Jason A. Koontz & Michael J. Warnock

Delphinium nudicaule Torr. & A. Gray
Habit: Root generally > 15 cm, distally branched. Stem: 15--50(125) cm, base narrower than root, not firmly attached, generally glabrous. Leaf: generally on proximal 1/3 of stem, +- glabrous; lobes 3--10, generally > 6 mm wide. Inflorescence: pedicels 15--80 mm, 7--50 mm apart, glabrous to glandular-puberulent. Flower: sepals forward-pointing, scarlet to orange-red (dull yellow), lateral 8--16 mm, spur 12--34 mm; lower petals flattened, blades 2--3 mm, +- glabrous. Fruit: 13--26 mm, curved. Seed: smooth, collar inflated. Chromosomes: 2n=16.
Ecology: Moist talus, wooded, rocky slopes; Elevation: < 2600 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CaR, n&c SN, ScV, CW (exc SCoRI), nw MP; Distribution Outside California: to southwestern Oregon. Flowering Time: Mar--Jun Note: Generally hummingbird-pollinated.
Synonyms: Delphinium armeniacum A. Heller, illeg.
Unabridged Note: May hybridize with Delphinium andersonii, Delphinium antoninum, Delphinium decorum, Delphinium depauperatum, Delphinium luteum, Delphinium nuttallianum, Delphinium patens, Delphinium trolliifolium. Petals maroon to magenta in putative hybrids.
eFlora Treatment Author: Jason A. Koontz & Michael J. Warnock
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botanical illustration including Delphinium nudicaule


Citation for this treatment: Jason A. Koontz & Michael J. Warnock 2016. Delphinium nudicaule, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 30, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 30, 2016.

Delphinium nudicaule
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© 2002 Gary A. Monroe
Delphinium nudicaule
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© 2002 Gary A. Monroe
Delphinium nudicaule
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© 2004 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Delphinium nudicaule x a blue flowered species
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© 1998 John Game
Delphinium nudicaule
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© 2002 Gary A. Monroe
Delphinium nudicaule
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© 2010 George W. Hartwell

More photos of Delphinium nudicaule in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Delphinium nudicaule:
NW, CaR, n&c SN, ScV, CW (exc SCoRI), nw MP;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.