Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White larkspur flowers

with 35 comments

White Larkspur Flowers 0521

Shakespeare had his take on Hotspur, and on April 8 the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County had its shot at larkspur, Delphinium carolinianum ssp. virescens. Marshall Enquist explains that there are four small petals in the center of each flower, with the lower two bearing the conspicuous hairs that you see here. The other five segments, including the purple-tinged spur, are sepals.

Wanna go back to what one of these flowers would have looked like in an earlier stage? Here’s your visual time machine:

White Larkspur Bud Opening 0502

Afterthought: you’ve had two hairy flowers in a row.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2016 at 5:03 AM

35 Responses

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  1. I’d rather larkspur than Hotspur!


    April 23, 2016 at 6:35 AM

  2. Superb.

    Sherry Lynn Felix

    April 23, 2016 at 7:20 AM

  3. I guess the second photo does look a bit like a tiny hairy dolphin.
    Such clarity of the tiny hairs on both!


    April 23, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    • Because depth of field is limited in such close views, I aimed to get as many of the little hairs in focus as I could.

      It’s good of you to remind us that the word Delphinium comes from the Greek word for dolphin. The things that people imagine…

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 23, 2016 at 8:22 AM

  4. ….two bards with one stone—one human, one divine


    April 23, 2016 at 8:18 AM

  5. And this one isn’t at all sordid!


    April 23, 2016 at 8:25 AM

  6. Wow, those are gorgeous!


    April 23, 2016 at 10:30 PM

  7. Lovely little larkspurs. One question though…are these white larkspur flowers or white larkspur flowers?

    Steve Gingold

    April 25, 2016 at 6:46 AM

    • Using grouping symbols the way we do in algebra, I could rephrase your question to ask whether this is a white (larkspur flower) or a (white larkspur) flower. This species comes in a bluish purple color as well (a tinge of which you see on the spur), so this is a white (larkspur flower).

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 25, 2016 at 8:20 AM

  8. Those sticky little dew-tips add yet another layer, both literal and figurative, to the plant’s attractions!


    April 25, 2016 at 2:23 PM

    • I don’t think I’d ever noticed till then the many little hairs that cover larkspur plants. Fortunately there’s no end to new things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 25, 2016 at 3:24 PM

  9. Not only have we had two hairies in a row, it only required one sally to the ranch to meet them both. (The reference was just too perfect.)

    I realized this afternoon that I didn’t have a clue why larkspur carries that name. I imagined that the flower spurred the lark to song, but I found it’s the resemblance to the bird’s foot that provided the name. The bloom is pretty, but your photo of the bud is a knockout. The color and the fuzz are great, but the lines are the best: especially the subtle curves, and that triangle in the center.


    April 25, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    • Hair ye, hair ye, hair ye: I sallied forth to the ranch, and for more than the fourth time.

      I, too, was pleased with the second picture, especially because I managed to maintain focus on the outline of the bud and on that slenderly intrusive little leaf.

      I’ve known for some time about the origin of larkspur but have still never seen a lark’s foot. I could look online but I’ll let the mystery be.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 25, 2016 at 10:23 PM

  10. Is it strange that the “earlier stage shot” made the hairs on my the back of my neck stand up? I don’t know why it gave me such chills.

    My Small Surrenders

    May 7, 2016 at 7:53 AM

    • Must be because your body got sympathetic vibrations from the little hairs that outline the larkspur bud, leaf, and stalk. Ah, the power of a photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 7, 2016 at 8:05 AM

  11. […] recent posts, I had visceral reactions to some of the images. One in particular, a photo of a hairy white larkspur flower (Delphinium carolinianum ssp. Penardii) before its petals opened, made the hair on my body stand on end. I can’t remember having that […]

  12. […] Last month you saw a mostly white version of this wildflower. […]

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