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.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
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)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
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