[Larkspurs: The Genus Delphinium East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur

Delphinium nuttallianum

Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei

Flower of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (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, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) Photo at right represents upland larkspur from Winter Ridge, Fremont N.F., Lake County, OR........late May, 1996. Note the thin leaf segments.
Characteristics:

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.


Habitat:

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.


Range:

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.


Inflorescence of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Leaves of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Upland larkspur as seen along the Canyon Mountain Trail, Strawberry Mountian Wilderness.........May 29, 2014.


Delphinium nuttallianum - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

The photo at left shows a 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. The photo at center shows upland larkspur as seen along FS Road #2230 between Mount Pisgah and East Point, Ochoco National Forest.........June 13, 2015. The photo at right shows upland larkspur as seen in scablands along Forest Road 22 about 0.3 miles west of the junction with Forest Road 22-400, Ochoco National Forest.........May 10, 2017.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Pale-flowered form of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Pale-flowered form of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Pale-flowered form of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Pale-flowered form of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Pale-flowered form of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Pale-flowered form of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Both blue and pale-flowered forms of upland larkspur as seen along the Fremont National Recreation Trail #160 on the upper west side of Hager Mountain, Fremont National Forest.........May 19, 2016.

Flower of Delphinium nuttallianum - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

This photo at left 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. The photos at center and at right show non-pigmented flowers of upland larkspur as seen along the upper mile of the Wapaloosie Mountain Trail #15 in the Kettle Range, Colville National Forest........June 23, 2016.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

The photo at left shows upland larkspur as seen on a basalt outcrop along Oregon Highway 219 east of Clarno, OR..........April 19, 2007. The photo at right shows upland larkspur as seen on slopes above the eastern bank of the John Day River about two and one-half miles downstream of Oregon Highway 206 in Cottonwood Canyon State Park and adjacent BLM lands........April 9, 2016.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Upland larkspur flowers with visiting black beetles as seen at left along Reecer Creek Road, Wenatchee National Forest..........June 5, 2009. The photo at right shows upland larkspur in bloom along the Hanan Trail #142, Fremont-Winema National Forest......June 17, 2020.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Flower of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Upland larkspurs observed in bloom along the Deadman Canyon Trail #1869 about one-half mile north of the trailhead at Fish Lake Campground, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.......July 18, 2019.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei) - Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium bicolor, Delphinium decorum ssp. tracyi, Delphinium nelsonii, Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Upland larkspurs beginning to bloom along the northern loop of the Stubblefield Trail, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge......May 8, 2019.

Flower of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Close-up of the flower of upland larkspur as seen in meadows in Logan Valley just west of Big Creek Campground, Malheur National Forest.........July 1, 2010. Note the numerous gland-tipped hairs on the outer surface of the sepals of the flower in bud as well as on the pedicels.

Leaf of Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Basal or lower stem leaf of the upland larkspur.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

Upland larkspur blooming on weed-infested sand dunes atop the White Bluffs (north), Hanford Reach National Monument..........April 26, 2014.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

The photo above shows the open inflorescence of upland larkspur. Note that these flowers have whitish upper petals and dark lower petals. Photographed at Emmigrant Springs State Park, east of Pendleton, OR........May 30, 1999.

Upland Larkspur, Two-lobe Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum (Synonyms: Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum, Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule, Delphinium pauciflorum, Delphinium sonnei)

The photo above shows the overall growth form of upland larkspur as seen at Fort Rock State Park in south-central Oregon. Note that the basal leaves are still present at flowering time, and that an animal has apparently grazed the plant.........May 25, 1996.

Paul Slichter