Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei
The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of upland larkspur. Note the prominent cleft in the lower petals, and that the upper is whitish and lower petals are blue on this individual with abundant purplish penciling. Photographed on a basalt outcrop along Oregon Highway 219 east of Clarno, OR...................April 19, 2007.
Upland larkspur is an attractive perennial wildflower suitable for the early season rock garden. It usually has one erect, unbranched stem from 12-40 cm high. The herbage of the stems is very variable, ranging from hairless to covered with short, fine hairs, or occasionally longer hairs. Gland-tipped hairs may occasionally be found. Only a few leaves are present, and these are mainly basal or located low on the stems. The leaves are long petioled with the larger blades measuring from 2-6 cm wide, the margins parted into numerous linear or oblong-lanceolate segments. The bracts are leaf-like but linear.
The racemes are hirsute with from 3-15 flowers. The racemes tend to appear loosely flowered. The flowers are nodding, and are dark- to purplish-blue. Flowers that are purplish or lavender are occasionally seen. Individual sepals are oblong-ovate with obtuse to acute tips. The lowest pair of sepals are typically longest, measuring from 17-25 mm long. The lateral pair of sepals tend to be the widest. The spur is long and straight, measuring from 10-20 mm long. The smaller petals are variable in color, ranging from whitish with purplish penciling to yellowish or bluish. The lower petals, which measure from 3-4 mm long are deeply bilobed, with the cleft from 1/3-2/3 the length of the petal. They are commonly lined with purple. The pedicels are thin and ascending. The fruits are 10-22 mm long and glabrous to sparsely haired. This species blooms earlier than most of the other larkspurs east of the Cascade Mts.
Upland larkspur is variable in its habitat. It is found from moist upland meadows through open forests and even onto dry, sandy plains or mixed in with sagebrush. One prerequisite seems to be that it needs well drained soil.
Upland larkspur is found from southern British Columbia south along the foothills of the Cascade Range into northern California, eastward to Alberta, and south to Arizona.
This photo showa close-up of the inflorescence of upland larkspur as seen on moist soils (where the snow has just melted) at Buckhorn Lookout on the western edge of the Imnaha Canyon in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest..................June 27, 2008.
This photo showa close-up of the flower of upland larkspur as seen on moist soils (where the snow has just melted) at Buckhorn Lookout on the western edge of the Imnaha Canyon in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest..................June 27, 2008.