Good morning from a cool but sunny Hastings.
I love delphiniums – yes I do know the name of these gorgeous flowers. This year we had such a show at Cornwall Park so on New Year’s Day while my children had to both work I headed to the park and just enjoyed the show. It wasn’t that easy as it was windy and my camera is mega slow in the best of times so I took lots of photos. As you do.
Various delphiniums are cultivated as ornamental plants, for traditional and native plant gardens. The numerous hybrids and cultivars are primarily used as garden plants, providing height at the back of the summer border, in association with roses, lilies, and geraniums.
Most delphinium hybrids and cultivars are derived from D. elatum. Hybridisation was developed in the 19th-century, lead by Victor Lemoine in France. Other hybrid crosses have included D. bruninianum, D. cardinale, D. cheilanthum, and D. formosum.
Numerous cultivars have been selected as garden plants, and for cut flowers and floristry. They are available in shades of white, pink, purple, and blue. The blooming plant is also used in displays and specialist competitions at flower and garden shows, such as the Chelsea Flower Show.
The ‘Pacific Giant’ hybrids are a group with individual single-color cultivar names, developed by Reinelt in the United States. They typically grow to 4–6 ft (1.2–1.8 m) tall on long stems, by 2–3 ft (0.61–0.91 m) wide. They reportedly can tolerate deer. Millennium delphinium hybrids, bred by Dowdeswell’s in New Zealand, are reportedly better in warmer climates than the Pacific hybrids. Flower colors in shades of red, orange, and pink have been hybridized from D. cardinale by Americans Reinelt and Samuelson.
What I didn’t know is that these plants are toxic.
All parts of these plants are considered toxic to humans, especially the younger parts, causing severe digestive discomfort if ingested, and skin irritation. Larkspur, especially tall larkspur, is a significant cause of cattle poisoning on rangelands in the western United States. Larkspur is more common in high-elevation areas, and many ranchers delay moving cattle onto such ranges until late summer when the toxicity of the plants is reduced. Death is through cardiotoxic and neuromuscular blocking effects, and can occur within a few hours of ingestion. All parts of the plant contain various diterpenoid alkaloids, typified by methyllycaconitine, so are very poisonous.
You learn something new everyday.
I have edited them as watercolours – just unleashing the inner artist in me again.
Thanks for visiting.