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Synonyms: Lark’s Heel. Lark’s Toe. Lark’s Claw. Knight’s Spur.
Common Name: Larkspur (The common name “larkspur” is shared between perennial Delphinium species and annual species of the genus.)
Habitat: Delphinium Consolida is native throughout the Northern Hemisphere and also on the high mountains of tropical Africa .
Delphinium Consolida is an annual flowering plant, with upright, round stems a foot high or more, pubescent and divided into alternate, dividing branches. The leaves are alternate, the lower ones with petioles 1/2 inch long, the upper ones sessile, or nearly so. The plant closely resembles some of the species commonly cultivated in gardens.
The leaves are deeply lobed with three to seven toothed, pointed lobes in a palmate shape. The main flowering stem is erect, and varies greatly in size between the species, from 10 centimetres in some alpine species, up to 2 m tall in the larger meadowland species.
The flowers are in short racemes, pink, purple or blue, followed by glabrous follicles containing black, flattened seeds with acute edges and pitted surfaces. The seeds are poisonous, have an acrid and bitter taste, but are inodorous.
The seeds are small and often shiny black. The plants flower from late spring to late summer, and are pollinated by butterflies and bumble bees. Despite the toxicity, Delphinium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the dot moth and small angle shades.
Part Used: Seed.
As in Stavesacre, the part used medicinally is the seed, a tincture of which in like manner acts as a parasiticide and insecticide, being used to destroy lice and nits in the hair. (During the Great War, when the men in the trenches took the trouble to use it, the results were said to be quite successful. – EDITOR.)
The tincture, given in 10-drop doses, gradually increased, is also employed in spasmodic asthma and dropsy.
The expressed juice of the leaves is considered good as an application to bleeding piles, and a conserve made of the flowers was formerly held to be an excellent medicine for children when subject to violent purging.
The juice of the flowers and an infusion of the whole plant was also prescribed against colic.
The expressed juice of the petals with the addition of a little alum makes a good blue ink.
The name Delphinium, from Delphin (a dolphin), was given to this genus because the buds were held to resemble a dolphin. Shakespeare mentions the plant under the name of Lark’s Heel.
The name Consolida refers to the plant’s power of consolidating wounds.
All parts of these plants are considered toxic to humans, causing severe digestive discomfort if ingested, and skin irritation.
Larkspur, especially tall larkspur, is a significant cause of cattle poisoning on rangelands in the western United States. Larkspur is more common in high-elevation areas, and many ranchers delay moving cattle onto such ranges until late summer when the toxicity of the plants is reduced. Death is through cardiotoxic and neuromuscular blocking effects, and can occur within a few hours of ingestion.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.