Herbs & Plants

Delphinium elatum

Botanical Name: Delphinium elatum
Family: Ranunculaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Genus: Delphinium
Species: D. elatum

Common Names: Alpine delphinium , Candle larkspur, English Larkspur

Habitat: Delphinium elatum is native to temperate Asia and Europe. It grows on the temperate areas from 3000 – 3600 metres. Grassy slopes at elevations of 1900 – 2100 metres in Tibet.

Delphinium elatum is an erect herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.8 m (5.9 ft), with deeply divided leaves. It produces spikes of blue or purple flowers in summer. Spicate flowering stems to 3-5’ tall are topped in late spring to early summer with erect, terminal, often spectacular, central flower spikes (racemes) which are densely packed with showy blue florets (25-100 per raceme). Each floret (to 1” across) has 5 blunt, glabrous, petal-like, blue outer sepals (posterior one is spurred) and two pairs of smaller true petals, with the lower two petals being yellow-bearded. The central raceme is surrounded by a number of smaller secondary flowering racemes (sidespikes) which develop from leaf joints below the primary bloom. Palmately lobed green leaves are 5-7 parted near the base.

It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).


Landscape Uses:Border, Foundation, Massing, Seashore, Specimen. Prefers a rich well-drained soil that stays moist in the summer. Dislikes water-logged soils, it is liable to die out in heavy soils over winter. Requires an open sunny position. This species is the main parent of the many tall hybrid forms of delphiniums that are commonly grown as garden ornamentals. A variable species in the wild, varying in height from 40cm to 2 metres. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Special Features: Attracts birds, All or parts of this plant are poisonous.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Seed – sow March/April in a cold frame or May outdoors. Keep moist and in a shady position until germination takes place. The seed has a limited viability so it should be stored in a sealed container at about 3°c. Temperatures above 15°c inhibit germination. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 9 weeks at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Cuttings of basal shoots in April/May, taken before they become hollow at the base, and planted in a cold frame. Division in spring or early autumn.

Edible Uses: Not known

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant, but especially the seeds, is anthelmintic, aperient, diuretic and emetic.

Other Uses: Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers.The seed contains 1.7% alkaloids and is used as an insecticide.Superb in cottage gardens. Back of beds and borders. Best in groupings or massed. Plant against a stockade fence for protection from wind. Deer and rabbits usually do not cause problems.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are toxic. The plant is most toxic when it is young.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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