Since the weather turned from sunny and spring-like to cold and windy, I thought I’d share a couple photographs from my trip to Alaska last year. These two images of Aconitum delphiniifolium, or larkspur-leaved monkshood, were taken approximately 300km apart as the crow flies. Aconitum delphiniifolium is so morphologically variable that Eric Hultén recognized three intergrading subspecies (two of which he described and published), but the Flora of North America account for Aconitum delphiniifolium has chosen to “…defer[red] formal recognition of infraspecific taxa within this species pending population studies” in concordance with other taxonomists.
Like all species of monkshood, Aconitum delphiniifolium is deadly poisonous when ingested in small amounts, thanks in part to the presence of delphinine.
Pollinators include bumblebees, as I was hoping to get a photograph of the one emerging from the flower in the first photograph (I have an out-of-focus photograph of the same flower with the bee’s wings emerging from the flower). The second photograph was from the first time I (delightedly) encountered this plant in the wild, and careful inspection of the lower-most flower in the photograph will reveal a second pollinator: flies.
On a different note, if you use Twitter, you can now follow updates from UBC Botanical Garden: UBCgarden on Twitter. Katie Teed, the garden’s new marketing and events manager, posted the announcement here: Follow UBC Botanical Garden on Twitter.