Delphinium viridescens

Today’s entry is the first of at least five on narrow-range endemics of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

Wenatchee larkspur is found only in central Washington, in an area no larger than 30km long by 10km wide. According to the Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), Delphinium viridescens is a plant of “moist meadows, moist micro-sites in open coniferous forest, springs, seeps, and riparian areas…characterized by surface water or saturated upper soil into early summer, with poorly drained and silty to clayey-loam soil”. This is an excellent description of the conifer-surrounded meadow environment where these photographs were made.

Due in large part to its narrow distribution, it is listed as endangered in Washington state and has been proposed as a candidate for federal endangered or threatened status in the USA. As noted by the CPC in the link above, threats to the roughly ten thousand individual plants include: “habitat loss due to residential development, hydrologic changes from development and road construction, timber harvest and livestock grazing”. Despite low numbers, the species “maintains considerable levels of genetic variation both within and among populations”, according to Richter, ST, et al. 1994. Genetic Variation within and Among Populations of the Narrow Endemic, Delphinium viridescens (Ranunculaceae). Am. J. Bot.. 81(8): 1070-1076.

Delphinium viridescens is a perennial plant typically growing to 1.2m in height, though occasionally to 2m. Photographs of the entire plant are available from the Burke Museum: Delphinium viridescens. The Flora of North America has a scientific description of Delphinium viridescens.

Delphinium viridescens
Delphinium viridescens

7 responses to “Delphinium viridescens”

  1. Troy Mullens

    Nice post. This just reinforces the concept that we should be careful about the consequences of habitat change as well as habitat destruction.
    Wonderful flower.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. morris brinkman

    Troy, you might have added one more “habit” we should always be aware of in our world and that is Habitual Ignorance which paves the way for the other two Habitats you mentioned. And Thank you for their mention indeed!

  3. Shirley Meneice

    Thanks also for sharing the Center for Plant Conservation’s habitat description as well as their notation on the threat to that habitat.

  4. elizabeth a airhart

    lovely plant tis hard to see what little
    space has been left for the plant to
    grow the map can be a shocker
    washington.edu has a good deal of
    of information how to help and
    the seven seeds program do click on
    the botanical print
    oh and a meeting in october
    will you be there daniel

  5. Kathleen Garness

    The little facing flowers kind of remind me of orphrys orchids in some strange way. How wonderful you were able to find and post photos of them!
    Thanks!

  6. linda miller

    So beautiful…thank you

  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Elizabeth, I don’t think I’ll be going — October is busy enough for me, sadly.

Leave a Reply