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Delphinium leucophaeum

pale larkspur, white rock larkspur

foothill larkspur, western larkspur


30-60 cm.

(11-)40-80(-120) cm;

base usually reddish, longitudinally ridged, puberulent.


blade round to pentagonal, 1-4 × 2-6 cm, usually puberulent, especially abaxially; ultimate lobes 3-14, width 3-8 mm (basal), 2-5 mm (cauline).


(5-)15-30(-100)-flowered, moderately open;

pedicel (0.5-)1-2.5(-7.5) cm, puberulent;

bracteoles 2-6(-12) mm from flowers, green to blue, margins often white, linear-lanceolate, 3-7(-12) mm, puberulent.


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

lower petal blades 4-6 mm.

sepals dark blue to white, puberulent, lateral sepals spreading, 7-13(-16) × 3-10 mm, spurs straight to upcurved, ascending 30-45° above horizontal, 9-18 mm;

lower petal blades slightly elevated, ± exposing stamens, 3-8 mm, clefts 1-5 mm;

hairs centered, denser on inner lobes near base of cleft, white.


8-18 mm, 2.2-3(-4.2) times longer than wide, sparse puberulent.


not echinate, appearing ± smooth to naked eye;

seed coat cells with margins straight, surfaces smooth or roughened.


= 16.

Delphinium nuttallii subsp. ochroleucum

Delphinium hesperium

Phenology Flowering late spring.
Habitat Rock outcrops, rocky meadows
Elevation 50-100 m (200-300 ft)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

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.)

Subspecies 3 (3 in the flora).

Delphinium hesperium is thought to be poisonous to cattle (D. E. Moerman 1986, no subspecies specified). It is often confused with D. hansenii. See discussion under that species for distinguishing features.

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

1. Lateral sepals 4(–5) mm wide or less; inflorescence dense (individual flowers often touching in pressed specimens).
D. hesperium subsp. cuyamacae
1. Lateral sepals more than 4 mm wide; inflorescence open (individual flowers seldom touching in pressed specimens).
→ 2
2. Sepals dark blue-purple.
D. hesperium subsp. hesperium
2. Sepals white to pinkish, rarely light blue.
D. hesperium subsp. pallescens
Source FNA vol. 3. FNA vol. 3.
Parent taxa Ranunculaceae > Delphinium > sect. Diedropetala > subsect. Grumosa > Delphinium nuttallii Ranunculaceae > Delphinium > sect. Diedropetala > subsect. Echinata
Sibling taxa
D. nuttallii subsp. nuttallii, D. nuttallii subsp. ochroleucum
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. 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
Subordinate taxa
D. hesperium subsp. cuyamacae, D. hesperium subsp. hesperium, D. hesperium subsp. pallescens
Synonyms D. menziesii var. (ß) ochroleucum, D. leucophaeum
Name authority (Nuttall) M. J. Warnock: Phytologia 78: 98. (1995) A. Gray: Bot. Gaz. 12: 53. (1887)
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