Earlier this month B and I made a trip to Washington County to look for some wildflowers that aren’t found in the Potomac Gorge. Directions from fellow botanerds and a bit of poking around rewarded us with three new-to-me species.
This one is dwarf larkspur, Delphinium tricorne (Ranunculaceae). There are 65 species of Delphinium native to North America, but only four of those are found east of the Mississippi, and only two in the mid-Atlantic.
Dwarf larkspur’s range includes the easternmost parts of the prairie states, the Midwest, parts of the South (especially the Appalachians), and the southernmost part of the mid-Atlantic.
It’s a plant of open, rocky woodlands with moist soils. Look for it on bluffs and ravines along the Potomac River in Washington County. Apparently there are records for it in the Potomac Gorge, but the most recent sighting there was in 1935; it’s not likely to be found there again.
The dark blue-purple color is typical, but dwarf larkspur can also be white and, apparently, bi-colored.
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