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Delphinium tricorne Michx.

Dwarf larkspur

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusDelphiniumFrom Greek delphinion, “larkspur”; the name is derived from the Greek for “dolphin” because of the shape of some flowers

About plant names...

Dwarf larkspurs are North American natives.

Identification: Plants are 6-24″ (15-60 cm) tall. Leaves near the base are on long stems, arranged loosely, up to 5″ (12 cm), and deeply subdivided, somewhat palmlike in appearance. A single stem has a few alternate leaves, and is topped by a cluster of deep blue or violet or white flowers up to 6″ (15 cm) tall. The attractive flowers have a spur about ¾″ (2 cm) long behind them, opening into five petals. They appear from April to May. Fruits resemble groups of three tiny bean pods, each about 1″ (2.5 cm) × ⅛″ (5 mm).

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones Very poisonous to cattle because of alkaloids that act as neuromuscular blocking agents; probably also poisonous to people.

Online References:


Illinois Wildflowers

Nametheplant.net (Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia)

Kansas Native Plants

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The USDA Plants Database

Southeastern Flora, the Southeastern U.S. Plant Identification Resource




Delphinium tricorne description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Delphinium tricorne (dwarf larkspur)

5/28/2009 · Mesa Verde, Cortez, Colorado · ≈ 4 × 6″ (10 × 15 cm)

Delphinium tricorne (dwarf larkspur)

5/31/2009 · Grand Canyon, North Rim, Ari­zona · ≈ 4½ × 3″ (11 × 7.9 cm)


About this map...