Stems: tall from a fascicle of thick roots. Leaves: numerous, mostly orbicular in outline, five-to-seven parted, the lower into cuneate and the upper into narrower-cleft and laciniate divisions, petioled. Flowers: racemes many-flowered on short erect pedicels.
The tall Mountain Larkspur is a very handsome plant. It is nearly always a rich purple hue, but very occasionally it bears white or pinkish-mauve blossoms. Standing from one to four feet high, these Delphiniums (so called from their fancied resemblance to a dolphin) may be found in immense quantities in the high alpine meadows, their long flower racemes towering up above a mass of deeply cleft dark green foliage. Each flower grows on a tiny upright stalk attached to the main stem, and has four small whitish petals, the upper pair smooth and developed backwards, and enclosed in the spur of the calyx, and the two lower ones deeply notched and very hairy. The sepals are five in number and of a lovely intense blue colour; the top one is prolonged at the back into a hollow spur, and the others are plain.
This plant is also called Monkshood, the reason wherefor may readily be seen.
Delphinium Menziesii, or Blue Larkspur, is a smaller species growing only from six to eighteen inches high and having few leaves and fewer flowers on its hairy stems. Though usually "Blue as the heaven it gazes at," this Larkspur has sometimes white blossoms marked with, purple veins.
Delphinium bicolor, or Blue-veined Larkspur, is a small species which grows six to ten inches high from fasicled and deep descending roots. It is a stout, pubescent plant, with thickish leaves, the lower ones orbicular in outline, and all deeply cleft into narrow, obtuse segments. The flowers grow in scanty racemes, and have pale yellowish or whitish petals, which are conspicuously blue-veined. This species is found in dry places among the mountains.