Also known as lark’s heel, lark’s claw or knight’s spur, Delphinium is a genus belonging to the buttercup family, that gathers 300 species. The shape of the leaves alternates, from long-stalked to palmately divided or lobed. The flowers are seated on stems with sizes that can vary from 10 centimeters to 2 meters tall.
Delphinium, that got its name from “dolphin”, because of the shape of the flower from late spring to late summer when it flowers, is a garden plant considered to be very poisonous. The reason is the alkaloid delphinine contained by the flower that brings symptoms like vomiting if eaten. Some of the other symptoms are: burning of the lips and mouth, numbness of the throat, diarrhea paralysis of the respiratory system or convulsions. As some of these symptoms may suggest, depending on the quantity, alkaloid delphinine can also became fatal.
If used in small amounts, alkaloid delphinine can actually be helpful. It can be used against asthma or stings of scorpions. Blue ink can also be created if mixing the juice extracted from the flowers with alum.
Delphinium usually grows on fields and because of this, the plant is held responsible for many cases of cattle poisoning. Because of this, fields containing delphinium are avoided, until late summer when the toxicity of the plant becomes less powerful.
Regarding the propagation process, in the case of Delphiniums is by using the seeds that have a black shiny color and that can be easily planted in any type of soil. Growing them requires no special treatment and the only condition is to keep a distance of two feet between the plants.
Delphinium can be sensitive to diseases such as black leaf, diplodina, crown rot, stem canker, powdery mildew, leaf spots or verticillium wilt. In most cases the diseases firstly attack the leaves and no chemical control is listed.
Delphinium Pictures Gallery