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Delphinium leucophaeum

pale larkspur, white rock larkspur

cardinal larkspur, cardinal or scarlet larkspur, scarlet larkspur

Stems

30-60 cm.

(33-)50-150(-280) cm;

base reddish, ± puberulent.

Leaves

blade round to reniform, 3-7 × 5-10 cm, nearly glabrous; ultimate lobes 0-27, width 5-40 mm (basal), 0.5-6 mm (cauline).

Inflorescences

10-40(-80)-flowered, open, narrowly pyramidal;

pedicel spreading, (1-)2-5 cm, ± puberulent;

bracteoles (2-)7-15(-25) mm from flowers, green, linear, 3-7 mm, glabrous to puberulent.

Flowers

sepals white or light yellow, spurs 9-11 mm;

lower petal blades 4-6 mm.

sepals red, glabrous, lateral sepals forward pointing, 11-15 × 5-8 mm, spurs straight, stout, slightly ascending, 15-24 mm;

lower petal blades nearly coplanar with claw, exposing stamens, 2-5 mm, clefts 0.5-1.5 mm;

hairs centered at base of cleft, short, sparse, yellow.

Fruits

erect, 9-18 mm, 2.5-4 times longer than wide, glabrous.

Seeds

unwinged;

seed coat cells with margins undulate, surfaces roughened.

2n

= 16.

= 16.

Delphinium nuttallii subsp. ochroleucum

Delphinium cardinale

Phenology Flowering late spring. Flowering spring–early summer.
Habitat Rock outcrops, rocky meadows Slopes (often unstable) in chaparral
Elevation 50-100 m [200-300 ft] 50-1500 m [200-4900 ft]
Distribution
from FNA
OR
[WildflowerSearch map]
from FNA
CA; Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur)
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Discussion

Of conservation concern.

The range of morphologic features of Delphinium nuttallii subsp. ochroleucum (D. leucophaeum) is almost completely encompassed within that of D. nuttallii subsp. nuttallii. Sepal color is the only feature consistently separating the two subspecies. Were it not for the fact that any given population typically has plants of only one flower color, a rank of forma would be more appropriate.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Hybrids between Delphinium cardinale and D. parryi have been named D. ×inflexum Davidson. Because of horticultural interest in red-flowered delphiniums, garden hybrids have been made with D. elatum, D. hesperium, D. hutchinsoniae, D. nudicaule, D. parishii, D. penardii, D. scopulorum, D. tatsienense Franchet, D. uliginosum, and D. zalil Aitchison & Hemsley, although D. cardinale does not grow with any of these in the wild.

Plants of Delphinium cardinale are quite variable in size, leaf distribution, and pubescence, resulting in considerable differences between, and sometimes within, populations. No patterns could be seen, however, to justify recognition of separate taxa within D. cardinale. Populations farther south (in Baja California, Mexico) may represent a distinct entity; they require further study.

The only possible confusion between Delphinium cardinale (seeds not ringed, fruits erect, grows in relatively dry sites) and another taxon might occur with Delphinium nudicaule (seeds ringed, fruits spreading, grows in moist habitats). The two are separated geographically and phenologically (although D. cardinale may begin flowering in southern California before D. nudicaule has finished in northern California).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 3. FNA vol. 3.
Parent taxa Ranunculaceae > Delphinium > sect. Diedropetala > subsect. Grumosa > Delphinium nuttallii Ranunculaceae > Delphinium > sect. Diedropetala > subsect. Wislizenana
Sibling taxa
D. alabamicum, D. alpestre, D. andersonii, D. andesicola, D. antoninum, D. bakeri, D. barbeyi, D. basalticum, D. bicolor, D. brachycentrum, D. californicum, D. cardinale, D. carolinianum, D. decorum, D. depauperatum, D. distichum, D. elatum, D. exaltatum, D. geraniifolium, D. geyeri, D. glareosum, D. glaucescens, D. glaucum, D. gracilentum, D. gypsophilum, D. hansenii, D. hesperium, D. hutchinsoniae, D. inopinum, D. lineapetalum, D. luteum, D. madrense, D. menziesii, D. multiplex, D. newtonianum, D. novomexicanum, D. nudicaule, D. nuttallianum, D. nuttallii, D. parishii, D. parryi, D. patens, D. polycladon, D. purpusii, D. ramosum, D. recurvatum, D. robustum, D. sapellonis, D. scaposum, D. scopulorum, D. stachydeum, D. sutherlandii, D. treleasei, D. tricorne, D. trolliifolium, D. uliginosum, D. umbraculorum, D. variegatum, D. viridescens, D. wootonii, D. xantholeucum
D. alabamicum, D. alpestre, D. andersonii, D. andesicola, D. antoninum, D. bakeri, D. barbeyi, D. basalticum, D. bicolor, D. brachycentrum, D. californicum, D. carolinianum, D. decorum, D. depauperatum, D. distichum, D. elatum, D. exaltatum, D. geraniifolium, D. geyeri, D. glareosum, D. glaucescens, D. glaucum, D. gracilentum, D. gypsophilum, D. hansenii, D. hesperium, D. hutchinsoniae, D. inopinum, D. lineapetalum, D. luteum, D. madrense, D. menziesii, D. multiplex, D. newtonianum, D. novomexicanum, D. nudicaule, D. nuttallianum, D. nuttallii, D. parishii, D. parryi, D. patens, D. polycladon, D. purpusii, D. ramosum, D. recurvatum, D. robustum, D. sapellonis, D. scaposum, D. scopulorum, D. stachydeum, D. sutherlandii, D. treleasei, D. tricorne, D. trolliifolium, D. uliginosum, D. umbraculorum, D. variegatum, D. viridescens, D. wootonii, D. xantholeucum
Synonyms D. menziesii var. (ß) ochroleucum, D. leucophaeum
Name authority (Nuttall) M. J. Warnock: Phytologia 78: 98. (1995) Hooker: Bot. Mag., plate 4887. (1855)
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