A new contender – Delphinium

In time, most gardeners develop a liking for a particular genus (or a couple). In my case, the liking for Gentiana and Hepatica were inborn; then a few years ago I added Arisaema and Epimedium. I thought, that’s it! Enough to try to grow and study for more than one lifetime. Then slowly, Roscoea started to sneak in and now there is a new contender at the horizon.

As usually, a ‘liking’ has no rationality behind; I was always fond on Delphiniums and last year when D. oxysepalum bloomed I felt a pinch. In the winter I bought seeds of D. tatsienense and got hold through Seedex of a few others.

Delphinium oxysepalum
Delphinium oxysepalum

An endemic larkspur from western Carpathian Mts. (Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland). On a rainy day it looks like a watercolour on the making – deep blue flowers with liquid violet paintbrush strokes flowing through. On regular days, it may be blue, it may be violet…

Then, at Wrightman Alpines last month, I felt a stronger pinch – D. alpestre, D. nudicaule and Delphinium beesianum were in flower; a still unidentified Delphinium sp. was also flowering…

Delphinium nudicaule
Delphinium nudicauleRed larkspur or canyon larkspur

Found on mountain ranges from California to Oregon, it is one that didn’t followed the rules – instead of having blue or purple flowers pollinated by bumblebees, it has evolved tubular red or orange flowers for hummingbirds pollination.

Delphinium alpestre
Delphinium alpestre Colorado larkspur.

As its name says, a quite rare, alpine larkspur that grows on high peaks above 3000 m.

Delphinium beesianum (?) a Chinese larkspur with a question mark after its name: it doesn’t quite fit the description (I dare anyone to open Flora of China at Delphinium – huge number of species of which 150 endemics, with a narrow geographic distribution and also a ‘small’ problem with hybridization). Wonderful by any name for now…

Delphinium beesianum(?)
Delphinium beesianum(?)

Delphinium sp.? (most likely D. wootonii)

Delphinium sp.

Delphinium sp.

10 replies
    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thanks. Some were new to me too (or at least known from pictures). I really liked the one from Kazahkstan too – and it was a surprise for the owner too because he received the seeds as a different genus! Talking about propagating from seeds…always a wonder!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thank you, my personal one is only D. oxysepalum (done from seed); if it sets some this year I’ll spread the joy.

  1. Amy Olmsted
    Amy Olmsted says:

    I never was very fond of Delphinium except for the native tricorne, but after seeing these I have to rethink my preferences. I will look for seed of a few next winter when the seed-ex lists come out!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      That’s the best way to try new plants! I find their flowers so interesting – when you look at them from various angles they seem
      different and the same goes for the colour, changing with light.

  2. mrsdaffodil
    mrsdaffodil says:

    Gorgeous flowers and gorgeous photos, as always. I have been trying to comment on your blog over the last few weeks, but keep getting an error message. I’ve switched browsers, and I’m typing with my fingers crossed–here goes!

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thank you very much and sorry again. I had problems with an anti-spam plugin that was blocking everything; problem solved :) I thought about and a delphinium painting…

  3. joturner57
    joturner57 says:

    If you are a plant hoarder, it’s something to aspire to….Sorry to hear you’ve been evicted! Sounds like a total pain in the acer (hort joke…couldn’t resist : )… It seems the only constant is change….Hope you find a better residence very soon, and thanks for your encyclopedic plant knowledge, gorgeous plant profiles and photos, and gentle humour.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thank you for the kind comment! and what a great hort joke, how come I didn’t know it? Actually we will be moving in late summer, so prepare for even more plant hoarding!

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