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There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And all the day long he’d a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

Well, the BFS doesn’t have any geraniums (or dormice), but we do have a wonderful view of delphiniums (blue), and they’re blooming right now. Although uncommon on the BFS, the native Delphinium parryi has been spotted sporadically, and this weekend we noticed a large clump and a smaller clump on the HMC property.

Delphinium parryi flowers

Delphinium parryi flowers

Clump of <em>Delphinium parryi</em> on the HMC property.

Clump of Delphinium parryi on the HMC property, growing amidst Eriogonum and Phacelia distans.

Delphinium parryi flower closeup

Closeup of a Delphinium parryi flower.

Known commonly as Parry’s Larkspur or San Bernardino Larkspur, D. parryi is restricted almost entirely to California, just barely spilling over the border into Baja California. Amazingly, the beautiful D. parryi grows without any summer water. In fact, if grown in home garden it’s very important not to water it in the summer.

The native Kawaiisu peoples used the dried, ground root of D. parryi as a salve for swollen limbs. Don’t eat any, though! Members of the genus Delphinium are very toxic!

If you spot any of blue delphiniums at the BFS, please let us know where you saw them! (Get their GPS coordinates if you can.) We are in the process of mapping the less common plants of the BFS.

(The quote at the top of the post is from “The Dormouse and the Doctor”, a poem by A. A. Milne in When We Were Very Young.)

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