Monday, July 22, 2013

Glaucous larkspur at Tahoe Meadows

Mountain larkspur at Tahoe Meadows

Glaucous larkspur is a common wildflower along streambanks and amid bogs and wet meadows around Lake Tahoe [1]; such as Tahoe Meadows south of Mount Rose and Relay Peak in the Carson Range of northwest Nevada. This mid-elevation area between Incline Village and Reno features an Interpretive Loop Trail and other trails (including a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail), where interesting flowering plants are found, including elephant's heads. The tall and robust larkspur plants that may reach up to six feet (three meters) will not be missed by those hiking these trails in summer.

Glaucous larkspur has densely flowered racemes—many inches long. Each blue-purple flower is attached to the main stem via a long pedicel. The flowers consists of a backward-projecting spur, about two centimeters long, five sepals and four petals. The upper two petals are lighter in color or even white (right-side picture above). The leaves show a maplelike structure—palmetely divided and toothed (see picture below).

Glaucous larkspur, also spelled glaucus larkspur, has other common names such as tower larkspur, mountain larkspur and Sierra larkspur [2,3]. Its scientific name is Delphinium glaucum. This species is a member of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).

References and more to explore
[1] Laird R. Blackwell: Tahoe WildflowersA Month-by-Month Guide to Wildflowers in the Tahoe Basin and Surrounding Areas. A Falcon Guide, Morris Book Publishing, LLC, 2007; page 83. 
[2] Native Plant Database: Delphinium glaucum S. Wats.  [].
[3] Calflora: Taxon Report 2638: Demphinium glaucum S. Watson []. 

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