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Anderson's Larkspur (Pale Larkspur)

Delphinium andersonii

Delphinium andersonii var. scaposum

Family: Ranunculaceae – Buttercup Family

Perennial herbs; dicot; 4” to 2.5' (10 to 75 cm) tall

Leaves: mainly basal or more prevalent on lower part of the stem; the few leaves on upper part of the stem are alternate; compound - palmately divided or lobed into 3 parts; 0.4” to 2.4” (1 to 6 cm) wide

Flowers: 4 blue or purple petals (2 unlike sets of 2 petals, the upper pair spurred with no claws and the lower pair clawed); 5 blue or purple petaloid sepals; stamens several to many; 3-5 pistils; flowers perfect and large and showy; 1 to 15 flowers borne on stem; flowers 1.2” to 6” (3 to 15 cm)

Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects (specifically bees and flies) and hummingbirds

Fruits: follicles; most fruits are poisonous

Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities

Location seen: Windows, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, north of Tapestry Arch (on Broken Arch trail)

Other: The genus name, “Delphinium”, means “like a dolphin” and refers to the shape of the flower buds. The species name, “andersonii”, honors surgeon and botanist, Dr. Charles Lewis Anderson, (1827-1910) who collected plants in Nevada. The variety name, “scaposum”, comes from “scaposa” which means “with a conspicuous scape”. A scape is a flower stalk with no leaves arising from a rosette of leaves.

This plant contains the alkaloid, dephinine, which is very toxic to livestock. After flowering, the plant's alkaloid toxicity diminishes.

Did You Know?

Pine Tree Arch

There are over 2,000 cataloged arches in Arches National Park. In order to be considered an arch, an opening must measure at least three feet (in any direction).