This is a slender, upright perennial, with unbranched stems from 1-2 ft. tall. White to pale blue, spurred flowers in a narrow cluster on a finely downy stalk. Pale blue to white, spurred flowers appear in a narrow, terminal spike. Leaves are divided and lobed into narrow segments. Basal leaves often form a winter rosette which withers before the flowers open. The Spanish name is Espuela del caballero from its resemblance to a horsemans spur.
When in flower, this midwestern species can carpet acres of prairie before the grasses take over. Plains Larkspur was once considered to be a separate species, D. virescens, but studies of variation in larkspurs have now classified it as a subspecies of the widespread Carolina Larkspur, D. carolinianum ssp. virescens. The species, with three subspecies, ranges from the eastern edge of the West to the southeastern United States. Some phases may be blue. Larkspurs intergrade among species, and flower color varies from white to pale or dark blue in some species, making them difficult to classify and identify. Most blue-flowered species have white-flowered variants, and a few are consistently white or very pale blue. The geographic range of the white-flowered Wooton’s Larkspur (D. wootonii) overlaps with that of Plains Larkspur on the plains of eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska, but most of its range is to the south and west, to southeastern Arizona and western Texas. Wooton’s Larkspur usually has leaves mostly at the base and reflexed sepals, whereas Plains Larkspur has leafy stems and spreading sepals. Also white-flowered are Alkali Larkspur (D. gypsophilum), found in the San Joaquin Valley and the southern Coast Ranges of California; Peacock Larkspur, a hybrid between D. menziesii subsp. pallidum and Cow Poison (D. trolliifolium), with brightly glandular-hairy petals, found in western Oregon; and Pale Larkspur (D. nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum), without glandular petals, found in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Native plants for shady small spaces in Houston, TX
June 18, 2006
What are the best plants and flowers to plant in small spaces in an urban area in Houston, Texas? I have several flower beds that are 3 foot wide and 10-12 foot long that get half day sun. The area...
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