Delphinium virescens
BUTTERCUP FAMILY (Ranunculaceae)


  • Flowering time - May, June
  • Rare in prairie restorations at Neale Woods
  • Distinctive "spurred" flower
  • Deeply divided, linear leaves
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Native perennial with an unbranched stem up to 3 feet tall.  The alternate, stalked leaves are deeply divided into radiating, almost linear segments (B).  On the upper stem are 5-30 alternate, flowers on short stalks (A) consisting of 5 white petal-like sepals, each with a purplish-brown spot (C),  the upper one arching back into a long spur (E).  A close look inside the flower reveals 4 small white petals, the lower 2 covered with long, feathery hairs (bearded) and numerous brown anthers (D,E).  The flower is replaced by a cluster of 3 pointed cylindrical pods (F) which eventually split releasing the seeds.

Rare in Neale Woods prairie restorations.  Flowering occurs in May and June.

The shape of the flower prompted the genus name Delphinium, derived from the Greek word for dolphin.

All parts of this lovely plant contain the alkaloid delphinine, which is poisonous to livestock.