The blue and beautiful – Consolida ajacis

We are always more lenient with the blue and beautiful. This is the case of the annual Consolida ajacis (rocket larkspur), which has a bit of weedy tendencies. On top of that, it is capricious – it will reseed but not in great amount, and cannot be counted on to do it every year. I’ll better watch for seeds – this one is a keeper. It is pollinated by long tongue bees, especially bumblebees.

Consolida ajacis

Consolida ajacis – Rocket larkspur, Doubtful knight’s-spur

From the distance I took it as being a Delphinium (actually it was named for a while Delphinium ajacis); but when you get closer, the 2- hooded upper petals reveal the Consolida lineage. It also has a distinctive, finely dissected foliage.

Hailing from S.Europe, Consolida ajacis has been in cultivation for a long time and it has since escaped from gardens to become naturalized in many countries; it can grow in disturbed habitats, along railroads, vacant lots…, but rarely in the detriment of native vegetation. In Canada, there are even some reports of having been used as medicinal by the Native People (under the name Delphinium ajacis).

Note: like its relative Delphinium, all parts of Consolida sp. contain toxic alkaloids.

See a flower comparison between Delphinium (tatsienense) and Consolida (ajacis)