Larkspur, a group of more than 250 species of annual, biennial, and perennial flowering plants that grow throughout temperate areas in the Northern Hemisphere. Many wild species and a large number of hybrids are grown in gardens. Cultivated larkspurs are usually called delphiniums.

Delphiniums are among the showiest of all cultivated flowers. Some grow to more than eight feet (2.4 m) tall and produce long, crowded spikes of flowers two to three inches (5 to 7.5 cm) wide. Wild larkspurs commonly bear loose spikes of flowers, and some have branching heads.

LarkspursLarkspurs are among the showiest of all cultivated flowers.

The flower petals are inconspicuous, but the silky, petallike sepals are highly attractive in color and shape. The sepals are usually blue, violet, lilac, or lavender, but white, pink, red, and yellow varieties also are grown. One sepal ends in a long, nectarholding spur. The plant's name comes from the shape of the spur, which resembles the hind toe of a lark. Delphinium, from the Latin word for dolphin also refers to the shape of the flower.

Larkspurs contain a poisonous juice, and their seeds also are poisonous. They are among the plants that poison sheep and cattle on the Great Plains.

Larkspurs belong to the genus Delphinium of the crowfoot family, Ranunculaceae.

LarkspursLarkspurs are flowering plants of the crowfoot family.