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Click for more  Delphinium nuttallianum.

Delphinium nuttallianum (Larkspur, Dwarf Larkspur)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows.  Spring, early summer.
Stoner Mesa Trail, June 23, 2005.

In the early spring Delphinium nuttallianum, a lovely violet-blue Larkspur (the spur on the rear of the flower is a key to identifying Delphiniums), appears in the mountains up to 9,500 feet in elevation in solitary patches in open woods and also in massive arrays in meadows.  Delphinium nuttallianum commonly produces two, short, deeply dissected basal leaves early in the spring and then puts up a 6-to-12 inch leafless flower stalk.  By the time the flowers are fully opened, as in the picture at left, the basal leaves are usually withered.  The lower arrows point to the  dried, buff-colored leaves at the bottom of the stalk.  The two upper arrows point to the green star-burst shaped seed pods.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  "Delphinium" is from the Latin "delphinus", "Dolphin", for the resemblance of the flower buds to Dolphins.  (Click to see the Dolphins.)  Thomas Nuttall, the highly praised 19th century botanist, explorer, and Harvard teacher, collected this species in 1834 near the Columbia River and in 1843 Pritzel named this species for Nuttall. (More biographical information about Nuttall.)

Weber places Delphinium in Helleboraceae, not Ranunculaceae.

Delphinium nuttallianum

Delphinium nuttallianum (Larkspur, Dwarf Larkspur)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows.  Spring, early summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 18, 2010.

Very large basal leaves are the result of continual snows and rains from December through
April.

Delphinium nuttallianum (Larkspur, Dwarf Larkspur)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Foothills, montane.  Meadows.  Spring, early summer.
Stoner Mesa Trail, June 23, 2005
Narraguinnep Natural Area, May 28, 2004.

Click for more  Delphinium nuttallianum.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Delphinium nuttallianum