Delphinium cardinale Hook.

Scarlet Larkspur
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)


Scarlet larkspur is a striking and colorful plant where it occurs in the chaparral and coastal sage scrub.  It is a tall (to 6'), erect thick-stemmed perennial firmly attached to a deep woody root.  The stems are hollow and puberulent.  The glabrous basal leaves are sometimes present but often withered at anthesis, and they are deeply palmately 5-parted into primary divisions which are in turn irregularly lobed or toothed.  The higher cauline leaves are alternate, also 5-7 lobed, and subglabrous to thinly hairy on the veins.  The flowers are widely spaced on an open raceme with red, generally forward-pointing, ovate sepals, the spur being 5/8" to 1" long.  The upper two petals are exserted, and are yellowish with scarlet tips, and the lower two are narrowly oblong, somewhat flattened, and have the sinus closed.  The fruit is a glabrous, erect follicle to 5/8" long.  Scarlet larkspur inhabits dry, open areas in brush and woods to 5000' from Lower to c. California, blooming from May to July.  These pictures were taken near Dark Canyon on the Backbone Trail across the Santa Monica Mountains.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Delphinium 2) cardinale.
Pronunciation: del-FIN-ee-um kar-din-AY-lee.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


Return to Home Page