Family: Ranunculaceae – Buttercup Family
Perennial herbs; dicot; 3.5” to 3' (0.9 to 9.2 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate and basal; compound - palmately divided; 0.8” to 6” (2 to 15 cm) long
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, irregular, large and showy; racemes with 6 to 10 flowers
Pollinators: bees and hummingbirds
Fruits: achenes, follicles with many seeds, or berry; most fruits are poisonous because of the volatile acrid oil - protoanemonin
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub, grassland and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, Windows, park road mile 11 to 12, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Broken Arch trail, outside Arches National Park in Blue Hills
Other: The genus name, “Delphinium”, means “like a dolphin” and refers to the shape of flower buds and the species name, “nuttallianum”, honors Englishman Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), a botanist, ornithologist, curator of the Harvard Botanic Gardens, and author in 1818 of The Genera of North American Plants.
This species contains alkaloids which are deadly to humans and cattle.