It seems that BPotD was ably looked-after during my absence, so thank-yous to Eric, Stephen, Douglas and everyone else who contributed efforts to continue the site.
In the third week of July, I had the pleasure of revisiting Olympic National Park for a couple days (I had visited it once previously, in 2006: see Pinguicula vulgaris subsp. macroceras, Rubus lasiococcus and Mimulus guttatus). Despite my 2009 visit taking place several days earlier than the one in 2006, I noted that the butterworts (Pinguicula) were past peak bloom and that the mountain larkspurs (today’s photograph) were nearing peak bloom. This suggested to me that this year’s flowering season at elevation was approximately one week ahead of 2006. Year-to-year variance in peak flowering times is typical in montane environments, due both to the preceding winter’s snowfall amount and spring-summer weather conditions.
Mountain larkspur is distributed throughout western North America, from Alaska south to California and east to Manitoba. Populations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are naturalized, and not considered native (via Flora of North America). The FNA also notes that “Specimens named Delphinium splendens represent plants grown in high-moisture, low-light conditions and may occur as sporadic individuals anywhere from California to Alaska.” I had one other encounter with Delphinium glaucum this past summer, in northeast Oregon. This single plant, growing in high-moisture (streamside) and low-light (moderate tree canopy) towered over me at ~2.5m (8ft) in height — a “Delphinium splendens“, perhaps.
In addition to mountain larkspur, the Flora of North America lists several other common names, including tall larkspur, western larkspur, and, my favourite, duncecap larkspur.