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

Delphinium glaucum S. Watson
tall larkspur (Sierra larkspur)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #11612)

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Distribution of Delphinium glaucum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick, tough rootstock; stems 1 or more, hollow, erect, (60) 100-200 cm tall, mostly smooth, with a bloom, bases green.
All stem leaves, alternate, 15 to 20 at time of flowering, stalks 1-14 cm long, blades round to 5-sided, 2-11 cm long, 3-18 cm wide, palmately divided into 5 (7) main broadly wedge-shaped segments, the segments shallowly 2- to 3-times lobed or toothed, the ultimate segments 5 to 9 (15) and 5-24 (35) mm wide, smooth.
Inflorescence a 10- to 90-flowered, narrow, terminal raceme, sometimes branched, the flowers bilaterally symmetric; bracts linear, green to bluish, 2-7 mm long, smooth or minutely-hairy; flower stalks ascending, 1-3 cm long, smooth to minutely-hairy; petals 4, the upper 2 united, pale within, blue-streaked outside, spurred, enclosed in upper sepal, nectary inside spur, the lower petals 2, pale to dark blue, mostly covering stamens, clawed, 4-6 mm long, 2-lobed, cleft 1-3 mm, the hairs white, centred near base of cleft; sepals 5, usually bluish purple to lavender, minutely-hairy, the lateral two pointing forward to spreading, 8-14 mm long, 3-6 mm wide, the lower two similar to lateral, the upper one spurred, the spur straight, 10-15 mm long; stamens 20 to many; pistils 3.
Follicles, 9-20 mm long, 3.5- to 4.5-times longer than wide, smooth to minutely-hairy; beaks straight, about 3 mm long; seeds pale to dark brown, winged, shining.
Toxic; known to cause livestock poisoning.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Black
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic open forests, thickets, meadows and tundra from the montane to alpine zones; common throughout BC east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, except southernmost BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to MB and S to UT, CO, NV and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Delphinium glaucum

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) 6 1124 2240
Slope Gradient (%) 0 16 262
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 174 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 8
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(12), BAFA(20), BWBS(293), CWH(1), ESSF(139), ICH(5), IDF(8), MS(7), SBPS(1), SBS(113), SWB(143)


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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Delphinium brownii Rydb.
Delphinium scopulorum A. Gray
Delphinium scopulorum var. glaucum (S. Watson) A. Gray

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References