doubtful knight’s spur

I’ve set myself the project of identifying the plants in the alley– so today we begin with:

Rocket Larkspur

Consolida ambigua
(synonyms: Consolida ajacisDelphinium ajacisDelphinium ambiguum)


Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee)
Genus: Consolida (kon-SO-lih-duh)
Species: ambigua (am-big-yoo-uh)

Larkspur belongs to the buttercup family – Ranunculaceae.

“Larkspur flowers are almost as complex as the Orchids,” according to the flower expert.

“Larkspurs are distinguished by a backward projecting spur, formed by the upper petal of the flower,” per Wildseed Farms.

Illinois Wildflowers tells us: “It is not surprising that this species is grown in flower gardens, from which it occasionally escapes…The follicles (seed capsules) of Forking Larkspur are glabrous, while the follicles of Rocket Larkspur are pubescent.” [ahem.]                                                                        

And we learn from Chinese Astrology and Precious Flowers that Larkspur’s associated Chinese Horoscope animal is the Sheep (in case you were wondering).

“Larkspur needs butterflies in order to pollinate. The plant is very toxic and can cause death if eaten in large amounts… In ancient China people used Larkspur against snake bites and stings of scorpions.”

Oh, bold Larkspur, to oppose the sting of scorpions! How so a doubtful knight, I have to wonder… For my part I shall admire your indomitability in the face of rocky soil.

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Rainy day seed starts

Today was meant to be bed-building workday out at Global Garden, but, since the weather refused to cooperate, I hung indoors with whistling radiators and got my green on making floral seed starts for alleyway guerilla gardening.

Yesterday I walked down along the L track fenceline and planted three types of morning glory seedlings (blue, blue, pink), shook several jumbo wildflower seed packs over rocky and dubious soil. I’m uncertain as well how the new starts will fare on the back railing– tied down though they be against stray gusts and birdfeet.

The busy visitors, invited by feeders, have been making a meal of my windowbox lettuces and repeatedly turning Signor Oregano on his poor head. He begs that they kindly desist. Grazie mille!

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