Delphinium hesperium ssp. hesperium

Western Larkspur

Plant Type: Perennial
Sun: Partial Shade, Sun
Drainage: Well-draining
Water: Naturalize, Occasional
Height X Width: 3' X 1'
Santa Clara County Local: Yes
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Western larkspur is a California endemic found in a variety of habitats in much of the state. It is especially prominent in the SF Bay Area, where it greets spring hikers with long fronds of deep blue flowers. After dormancy (i.e. no above ground growth), deeply lobed leaves emerge in early spring. The number of leaves increases from year to year as the plant matures. The tall flower stock is covered bright blue, tubular flowers, each with the rear facing protrusion reflected in the plant’s common name. Although the larkspur are not usually treated as geophytes, they share many characteristics with that group of plants, most notably the ability to store energy in below-ground plant structures to support summer dormancy. While in most California geophytes energy is stored in enlarged leaves (bulbs) or stems (corms), in larkspur a network of enlarged roots performs this task. As the root stores more and more energy, the plant grows larger and larger each year. The cultural needs of the western larkspur is identical to that of most mariposa lilies (calochortus): well-draining soil in partial shade to full sun with no summer water.


Deer Resistant: No
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: Yes
Evergreen or Deciduous: Deciduous