Blue or purple.
Petin. southward and westward.
Flowers: downy; loosely clustered in a terminal raceme. Calyx: of five irregular sepals, one being prolonged into a large spur. Corolla: of four petals in pairs; the upper pair projecting backward long spurs which are enwrapped in the spur of the calyx; the lower pair raised with short claws. Stamens: numerous. Pistils: three, forming in fruit as many erect pods. Leaves: alternate; palmately divided into three, or five divisions. Stem: three to five feet high.
The larkspurs form en masse an exquisite bunch of blending, beautiful colours. They are dignified flowers and until examined critically appear to be symmetrical. Their organs, however, are all irregular.
D. tricorne, called also stagger-weed, is the dwarf larkspur which brightens the open woods with its long, loose clusters of bright blue or white flower. It effects a close soil and. is found mostly southward and westward from Pennsylvania. The stem is from six to twelve inches high and smooth. The leaves are deeply five-parted and the roots are tuberous.
In common with nearly all the larkspurs, of which there are over twenty-five species native to the United States, the plant possesses poisonous properties, and is especially harmful to cattle in April if they indulge too freely in its fresh, green shoots. It is from this fact that it has derived its name of stagger-weed.
D. Carolinianam, Carolina larkspur, Plate CX, has azure, pink or white flowers that are somewhat smaller. It is a downy plant, from one to three feet high.
D. Ajacis, with which we are familiar in old gardens, is similar to a hyacinth, and has flowers crowded in a long, close raceme. The spur is short and the pods very downy. On the front of the united petals there are two marks which are supposed to be the letters A. I. There is a pretty legend connected with it.
When Ajax and Ulysses presented themselves as claimants for the armour of the treacherously slain Achilles, the Greeks awarded it to Ulysses; and by so doing placed wisdom before valour. Ajax, on hearing the decision, slew himself, and from the spot where his blood touched the ground a lovely flower sprang up, bearing on its petals the two first letters of his name, Ajax, or Aiai, which is the Greek for woe.