Herb: Red Larkspur

Latin name: Delphinium nudicaule

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Medicinal use of Red Larkspur:

The root is considered by some native North American Indians to be highly narcotic.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry slopes among shrubs and in woods, below 2150 metres.

Other uses of Red Larkspur:

A blue dye is obtained from the flowers. An ink can be made from the dye. A parasiticide is obtained from the leaves. It is quite toxic and so is for external use only.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow March/April in a cold frame or May outdoors. Keep moist and in a shady position until germination takes place. The seed has a limited viability so it should be stored in a sealed container at about 3C. Temperatures above 15C inhibit germination. The seed usually germinates in 2 - 9 weeks at 15C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Cuttings of basal shoots in April/May, taken before they become hollow at the base, and planted in a cold frame. Division in spring or early autumn.

Cultivation of Red Larkspur:

Dry slopes among shrubs and in woods, below 2150 metres.

Known hazards of Delphinium nudicaule:

All parts of the plant are toxic. The plant is most toxic when it is young.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.