Ranunculaceae Delphinium andersonii

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.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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