E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Delphinium nuttallianum Pritz. ex Walp.
upland larkspur (twolobe larkspur)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Durand  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #9397)

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Distribution of Delphinium nuttallianum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from compact and tuberous-fleshy to fibrous and many-branched roots; stems erect, 10-40 (70) cm tall, smooth to very hairy, bases often reddish.
Mostly on lower 1/4 of stem, at time of flowering the basal leaves 2 to 6 and stem leaves 2 to 10, alternate, stalks 0.4-12 cm long, blades round, 1-6 cm long, 2-12 cm wide, reduced and with fewer segments upward, 2- to 4-times palmately parted or lobed into linear segments, the ultimate segments 5 to 21 and 1-7 (14) mm wide on basal leaves, 0.5-6 mm wide on stem leaves, entire, nearly smooth.
Inflorescence a 4- to 18-flowered, terminal raceme, the flowers bilaterally symmetric; bracts linear, green to bluish, 3-7 mm long, smooth to hairy; flower stalks ascending to spreading, 0.8-6 cm long, smooth to hairy; petals 4, the upper 2 united, almost white, blue-veined, spurred, enclosed in upper sepal, nectary inside spur, the lower petals 2, blue to purple (except when white-flowered), elevated and exposing stamens, clawed, 4-11 mm long, 2-lobed, cleft 2-5 mm, the hairs white, rarely yellow, mostly on inner lobes on claw; sepals 5, usually bluish purple, rarely white to pink, minutely-hairy, the lateral two bent back or spreading, 8-21 mm long, 3-10 mm wide, the lower two similar to lateral, the upper one spurred, the spur gently curved downward to straight, 8-23 mm long; stamens 10 to many; pistils 3 (-5).
Follicles, 7-22 mm long, 3- to 3.5-times longer than wide, smooth to minutely-hairy, beaked; seeds obpyramidal, winged or not, smooth or rough.
Toxic; known to cause livestock poisoning.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry grasslands, meadows, shrublands and open forests in the steppe and montane zones; common in S BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; E to SW AB and S to NM, AZ, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Delphinium nuttallianum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 270 1081 2235
Slope Gradient (%) 0 32 115
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
8 183 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(3), BG(43), ESSF(41), ICH(19), IDF(89), MS(24), PP(51)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Delphinium nelsonii Greene
Delphinium nelsonii subsp. utahense (S. Watson) Ewan
Delphinium nuttallianum var. fulvum C.L. Hitchc.
Delphinium nuttallianum var. levicaule C.L. Hitchc.
Delphinium nuttallianum var. nuttallianum
Delphinium sonnei Greene

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References