Last updated: June 12, 2017
With the 2016-2017 rainfall season coming in with approximately 13.76” total, the Super Bloom at Cabrillo National Monument (CABR) was spectacular. The number and variety of species documented this Spring has been an outspoken statement on the hardiness of dormant seedbank stores. Many species had not been documented in the last four to five years during the Spring Terrestrial Vegetation Monitoring. It was truly a spectacular season for native blooms!
One such species discovered was the San Bernardino Larkspur (Delphinium parryi ssp. parryi). This species may be the first of its kind to be found in the Park. Further research is currently being done to find if this species has been noted within the Park, but this find was one that created excitement for the Park biologists.
San Bernardino Larkspur is in the Ranunculaceae family, a dicot, and a perennial herb that is native to central and southern California and is found only slightly beyond California borders into Baja California.
This wildflower may approach a meter in height and has fuzzy stems and fuzzy, deep lobed leaves. The flower clusters hold up to over 60 flowers on long pedicels. The sepals and petals are a deep purple to light blue, with the upper petals often white. The spur of the flower may be over two centimeters long. The plant comes back every year from deep woody roots. Lower leaves usually wither before the growth of the flower stalk.
This lovely and rare find here at Cabrillo National Monument could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship here in the Park. The San Bernardino Larkspur will be noted by the biologists and will be monitored in the future to see if this native flower will take hold or if this was just an anomaly. So, get out there and explore. Who knows what you may find.