WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Single, unbranched stems 4–16 inches tall have only a few rounded, deeply lobed leaves and a spike-like cluster of deep-blue to purple flowers, Note the 5 showy, petal-like sepals surround 2 tiny, white petals with blue lines. Delphiniums contain highly toxic alkaloid compounds.


FLOWER: May–September. Spike-like clusters (racemes) have 3–15 blue to purple flowers; each flower has 5 showy, petal-like, hairy, wide-spreading sepals, the upper one forms a spur 1/2–3/4 inch long (13–20 mm), pointing upward, and straight or with a down-curved tip; 2 small, white upper petals marked with blue lines; 2 bluish-purple lower petals with white hairs, petals are deeply cleft, and usually elevated to expose stamens. Fruit is a cluster of 3 cylindrical, pointed pods  (follicles) that spread apart like fingers on a hand (not a tight bundle).


LEAVES: Basal, usually present at blooming; alternate on stem; leaf stems (petioles) can reach 4 3/4 inches long (12 cm). Blade circular in outline, 3/8–2 3/8 inches long (1–6 cm), palmately divided into 5–21 narrow radiating segments, each to 1/4 inch wide (6 mm). Stem leaves get smaller upward.


HABITAT: Dry sandy, gravelly soils of foothills, valleys, slopes, mesas, floodplains, grasslands, meadows, subalpine forests and meadows; sage scrublands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, ponderosa-Gambel oak-Douglas fir forests, mountain meadows.


ELEVATION: 5,650–9,540 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NV, NM, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES:


NM COUNTIES: Western and northern NM in mid- to high-elevation, dry habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Cibola, Colfax, Grant, McKinley, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Sandoval, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Union.

DWARF  (LOW)  LARKSPUR

DELPHINIUM  NUTTALLIANUM

Buttercup Family, Ranunculaceae

Perennial herb

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• Two upper white petals are marked with blue lines (upper arrow).

• Two lower purple petals are hairy, and usually expose the stamens (lower arrow).

©2011 Walter Siegmund, Creative Commons license

Flower color varies from deep-blue to purple.

Leaves are rounded in outline and palmately divided into narrow segments.