Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum)
If you’re seeing larkspur now (early spring) in the Northwest, chances are that it’s this variety. Also called “Common Larkspur”.Since this is (unbelievably) our first larkspur/delphinium post, we should note the following: “Larkspur” is used to refer to delphinium (a perennial species) as well as consolida (an annual species). The latin name refers to the resemblance of the flower’s nectary to the shape of a dolphin. All members of the genus are very poisonous, and notably dangerous to cattle, who can quickly die from grazing on a small amount. We should also note a similar sounding (and looking) variety nuttallii, called Nutall’s Larkspur, blooms later, mostly east and south of the Cascades. Both species were named after the English botanist Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), who travelled in Oregon. Larkspurs are difficult to identify and can hybridize with other varieties.