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Thursday, March 28, 2013


Coast Larkspur (Delphinium decorum)
flowering in the coastal prairie on Bodega Head on 28 March 2013

Here's a close-up of this beautiful early spring wildflower.  Unfortunately, they're rare on Bodega Head.  This species is a California endemic (it's not found outside of the state).

Tonight I read in The Jepson Manual account that the genus, Delphinium, comes from the Latin for dolphin, and is named after the shape of the bud.  I was a little puzzled by this, so I checked a few photos to look at the buds.

Here's one from today (see below).  I'm not quite seeing "dolphin" here.  (Maybe tadpole.)  Are you?

But if the buds are dolphin-like, and a group of dolphins is called a pod, is the next image a pod of Delphinium buds?

Okay, seriously, if someone out there does know how to see a dolphin in a Delphinium bud, I'd love to hear more about it.

P.S.  If you were intrigued by the worm last night, after receiving a little more information I included an addendum to that post.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Jackie, wikipedia says it was named for the shape of the nectary, and oxforddictionaries. com says this:


modern Latin, from Greek delphinion 'larkspur', from delphin 'dolphin' (because of the shape of the spur, thought to resemble a dolphin's back).

If you look only at the spur, not the whole bud, and consider that some Delphiniums have more curved spurs than D. decorum, you can begin to see it, I think.