Herbs & Plants

Delphinium nudicaule

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

Common Names: Canyon larkspur, Red larkspur, Orange larkspur, and Canyon delphinium

Habitat: Delphinium nudicaule is native to low-elevation canyons and slopes, foothills, and mountain ranges of California, US, from the Sierra Nevada to the California Coast Ranges, and of Oregon. It grows below 6,500 feet on dry slopes among shrubs and in woods, below 2150 metres. Moist talus and cliff faces from sea level to 2600 metres

Delphinium nudicaule is a herbaceous perennial flowering herb, growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.It is in flower from June to August. The bloom Color is Orange. Main Bloom Time is Early summer, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Upright or erect.

Root generally > 15 cm, distally branched. Stem: 15–50(125) cm, base narrower than root, not firmly attached, generally glabrous. Leaf: generally on proximal 1/3 of stem, +- glabrous; lobes 3–10, generally > 6 mm wide. Inflorescence: pedicels 15–80 mm, 7–50 mm apart, glabrous to glandular-puberulent. Flower: sepals forward-pointing, scarlet to orange-red (dull yellow), lateral 8–16 mm, spur 12–34 mm; lower petals flattened, blades 2–3 mm, +- glabrous. Fruit: 13–26 mm, curved. Seed: smooth, collar inflated.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
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.


Prefers a rich well-drained soil. Dislikes water-logged soils. Requires an open sunny position. Plants can flower in their first year from spring-sown seed, they are reliably perennial in their native environment, but often die overwinter in most parts of Britain. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes. Slugs and snails are very attracted to this plant[200]. Special Features: Attracts birds, Attractive foliage, North American native, All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above.

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 to us.

Medicinal Uses: The root of Delphinium nudicaule has been historically used as a medicinal narcotic, chiefly by the Mendocino Native Americans of the Yuki tribe. The Concow tribe called the plant “SO MA” in the Konkow language, and SOMA YEM (root)

Other Uses:
A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. An ink can be made from the dye. A parasiticide is obtained from the leaves. It is quite toxic and so is for external use only.Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen.

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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