Flower Profile: Delphinium
The official flower for the month of July is the delphinium (or larkspur) and the water lily. Today, I want to tell you a little more about that bright, colourful, tall wonder that is the delphinium.
Although it’s often thought of as a blue flower, larkspur, which symbolizes the strong bonds of love, it comes in a variety of colours. Each has its own significance. If you want to tell someone you aren’t sure about them, you could get them pink delphinium, which means fickleness; white is to celebrate someone with a happy nature (both white and pink can also just signify youth and renewal, so don’t count on the flower to send a complete message!). Purple is a great gift for a first love, and blue can convey grace and dignity.
The name delphinium comes from Ancient Greece. They thought the bud looked like a dolphin’s nose and named it after their word for dolphin: delphínion. In other parts of the world, like the UK and often Canada, this flower is more likely to be called larkspur, so named because of the claws of a lark. Which do you think it looks more like – a dolphin’s nose or the claws of a bird?
They like it here
No matter what you think of the climate here, delphiniums thrive in Northern climates that are cool and moist. While that usually means places like the mountainous tropics of Africa, they also do well in Alberta. They are often referred to as “Queen of the Border” for where they fit in in flower gardens.
Not only are these stunning blooms beautiful art in and of themselves, but you can also make blue ink by mixing their sap with alum. You could paint a delphinium with using part of the delphinium!
But don’t eat them!
As beautiful as they are, don’t eat them! Larkspur plants and seeds are very poisonous to animals and humans. You could become severely ill if you ingest part of the plants, and even die; these flowers are a common cause of cattle poisoning deaths! Even touching the plants can cause skin irritation. Regardless, they have been used medicinally to treat wounds, snake bites, control pain, and treat acid reflux and asthma.