En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 26, 2014

From: Missoula, MT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Larkspur with pink and white flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi - I have been photographing larkspurs (mainly D. bicolor) in Montana for years now and I found one that I can't identify. The leaves and flower structure all appear to be D. bicolor, but the flowers are pink with white petals in the center, not purple/blue with white. Is this just a color variation? I haven't found any photos showing this variation in wild larkspurs or any mention of it in my plant guides or websites. Thanks!

ANSWER:

There are five species of native Delphiniums that occur in Montana:

Delphinium ajacis [synonym = Consolida ajacis] (Rocket larkspur), a European native and a cultivated species sold for flower gardens that now occurs over a large portion of North America, including Montana, can be found in a variety of colors—purple, light and dark blue, light and dark pink, and white.  It is possible that you might have found one of these non-natives, but I am inclined to believe that you found a color variant of one of the natives.

Here are descriptions of several of the species above from eFloras.org, Flora of North America online, that might help you determine which native species it was:

D. bicolor, D. depauperatum, D. glaucum, D. nuttallianum,

D. nuttallianum lists the flower colors as:  "Flowers: sepals usually bluish purple, rarely white to pink,..."  All the others list the sepals as blue or bluish purple.  However, with colors of flowers, mutations to the enzymes in the pigment formation pathways can happen that would alter the color of the flowers.  i wouldn't be surprised to occasionally find pink and white blooms on any of the Delphinium species listed above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Flat-head larkspur
Delphinium bicolor

Slim larkspur
Delphinium depauperatum

Sierra larkspur
Delphinium glaucum

Twolobe larkspur
Delphinium nuttallianum

Duncecap larkspur
Delphinium x occidentale

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
June 10, 2010 - I have a tall leafy green plant growing in my garden. It has long flowering limbs that bear a pod that looks like a tiny green pepper. It then turns purple and falls off. The flower that remains is...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

Sombrerito Mexicano
May 16, 2010 - Ratibida columnifera, almost universally called Mexican hat in English, is native to Texas and also to parts of Mexico, which leads me to wonder what the vernacular name is in Mexican Spanish. Google...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that looks like green onions
April 06, 2013 - I have what looks like green onions growing in my lawn. They have small white flowers. Are they edible?
view the full question and answer

Plant in Las Vegas with fern-like foliage and yellow/orange/red flowers
August 21, 2011 - We were in North Las Vegas and saw a beautiful plant, I would love to find it. It had a fern like foliage at the bottom with long thin stems and a flower clump at the top with yellow/orange/red flower...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center