I’ve set myself the project of identifying the plants in the alley– so today we begin with:
(synonyms: Consolida ajacis; Delphinium ajacis; Delphinium 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.