Common name: Desert larkspur
Latin name: Delphinium parishii
Height: 6-36 inches
Description: Stem 17–100 (generally < 60) cm; base often narrower than root, but firmly attached to root, smooth to minutely hairy. Inflorescence: flowers 6–75; individual flower stalks 3–48 mm, 3–25 mm apart, smooth to minutely hairy. Flower: dark blue (in the southern Mojave and around Joshua Tree National park) or sky blue (in the northern Mojave) to white or pink, spur 8–14 mm; lower petal blades 3–6 mm.
Leaf: Mostly basal or mostly growing on a stem especially on the upper part while in flower; smooth to minutely hairy; lobes 3–20, generally < 6 mm at widest. Basal leaves usually wither by the time the flower blooms. Stem leaves have up to 20 lobes that are less than 1/4" at the widest point.
Range: Tehachapi Mountain Area, Transverse Ranges, East of Sierra Nevada, Desert;
Habitat: Desert scrub, with scattered trees or not.
Elevation: 300–2500 m.
Flowering time: Apr-Jun
Notes: Photographed May 15, 2010 Titus Canyon Road, Death Valley. One of the more lovely and distinctive flowers in the desert. Most larkspurs are highly TOXIC, attractive to livestock and cause many deaths to cattle, less often to horses, sheep.
A dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. Distribution outside California: to sw Utah, Arizona, n Baja California.
Horticultural information: Successful in cultivation only within natural range and habitat. Lowland subsp.: DRY. Upland species: winter chilling required.
We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.
Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...
What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports
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The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms