PRAIRIE LARKSPUR
File Size: 123 KB
 
Delphinium carolinianum  Walt.  subsp. virescens  (Nutt. ) Brooks
[=Delphinium virescens Nutt.]
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 1-4 feet
Family: Ranunculaceae - Buttercup Family
Flowering Period:   May, June
Also Called: Plains larkspur.
Stems: Erect, stout, 1 to several, sparsely branched or unbranched, soft-hairy, some hairs glandular.
Leaves: Alternate, lower long-stalked, often crowded, upper nearly sessile, somewhat rounded in outline, 1 to 3 inches long, 1/2 to 1 inch wide, deeply palmately divided, 3-7-lobed; lobes further divided into linear-lanceolate segments, pubescent; tips pointed.
Inflorescences: Racemes, spike-like, 4 to 10 inches long, 5-50-flowered.
Flowers: Calyces 5-parted, sepals petal-like, white to bluish, uppermost sepal extending backward as horizontal spur 1/2 to 3/4 inch long; petals 4, whitish, upper 2 petals extending backward into sepal spur, lower 2 petals bearded; stamens numerous.
Fruits: Groups of 3 pods, erect, 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, minutely pubescent; seeds numerous, scaly, brown.
Habitat: Open prairies, pastures, and hillsides, in all soil types.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Toxicity: Prairie larkspur is poisonous to cattle, which find it palatable. Horses and sheep are less inclined to eat it. All parts of the plant are toxic, whether fresh or dried in hay. Poisoning can result in impairment of the nervous system and respiratory failure.
Comments: "Larkspur" refers to the resemblance of the flower to the spur on the foot of a lark.

Prairie larkspur inflorescence
68 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur flowers
62 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur flowers
58 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur sepal spur
63 KB
Riley County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur leaf
72 KB
Johnson County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur
88 KB
Pottawatomie County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur
28 KB
Johnson County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur
128 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Prairie larkspur
96 KB
Cimarron National Grassland, Morton County, Kansas