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Delphinium leucophaeum

pale larkspur, white rock larkspur

high mountain larkspur, mountain marsh larkspur


30-60 cm.

(20-)60-100(-160) cm;

base reddish or not, glabrous.


blade round to pentagonal, 1.5-7 × 2-14 cm, glabrous; ultimate lobes 3-12, width 4-30(-45) mm (basal), 3-30 mm (cauline).


3-15(-35)-flowered, open, often ± secund;

pedicel 1-4(-15) cm, glabrous to puberulent;

bracteoles 2-8(-37) mm from flowers, green, linear, 4-7(-11) mm, nearly glabrous.


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

lower petal blades 4-6 mm.

sepals bluish purple, nearly glabrous, lateral sepals spreading, (10-)12-18 × 7-10 mm, spurs usually downcurved, ca. 30° below horizontal, 11-22 mm;

lower petal blades slightly elevated, ± exposing stamens, 4-6 mm, clefts 1-2 mm;

hairs mostly near base of cleft on inner lobes, yellow, sometimes white.


13-20 mm, 3.5-4 times longer than wide, puberulent.



seed coat cells with surfaces roughened.


= 16.

= 16.

Delphinium nuttallii subsp. ochroleucum

Delphinium polycladon

Phenology Flowering late spring. Flowering summer–early autumn.
Habitat Rock outcrops, rocky meadows Wet sites near springs, streamsides, bogs, and wet talus
Elevation 50-100 m (200-300 ft) 2200-3600 m (7200-11800 ft)
from FNA
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from FNA
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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.)

Delphinium polycladon hybridizes with D. depauperatum and D. glaucum. Plants of D. polycladon are extremely variable. Individuals from very rocky, thin-soiled, sunny sites at higher elevations tend to be quite compact; they show the features of the species in a dwarfed state. Proximal internodes are especially shortened. Plants from areas of deeper soil (high or low elevations), especially those growing among shrubs, usually are much taller, with elongate proximal internodes, and other vegetative parts proportionally larger. Shorter plants may be confused with D. depauperatum or D. nuttallianum; see discussion under those species for distinguishing features. Taller plants may be confused with D. glaucum; they can be distinguished by their leaves predominately on proximal part of stem, sigmoid pedicel, and fewer flowers.

(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. Multiplex
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. 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. 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 D. scopulorum var. luporum
Name authority (Nuttall) M. J. Warnock: Phytologia 78: 98. (1995) Eastwood: Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 28: 669. (1901)
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