Consolida or Delphinium ajacis-Rocket Larkspur, Doubtful Knight’s Spur

Consolida ambigua, Giant Larkspur, behind the den of the mansion in Mississippi on 4-15-12, #86-53.

Consolida ajacis, Giant Larkspur, behind the den of the mansion in Mississippi on 4-15-12, #86-53.

WAIT A MINUTE!!! According to Plants of the World Online, which is current, Consolida ajacis is now, ONCE AGAIN, the synonym of Delphinium ajacis. I will correct this page ASAP… Which. I suppose will merge two pages… 

Rocket Larkspur, Doubtful Knight’s Spur, Giant Larkspur

Consolida ajacis

kon-SO-lih-duh a-JAY-sis

OR

Delphinium ajacis

del-FIN-ee-um a-JAY-sis

OR MAYBE

Delphinium ambiguum

del-FIN-ee-um a-JAY-sis

Syn. (or maybe not)

Consolida ambigua (L.) P.W. Ball & Heywood

kon-SO-lih-duh am-big-yoo-uh

This Larkspur is one of those species that is kind of in limbo as far as its agreed upon scientific name goes. Currently, Plants of the World Online by Kew says both Delphinium ajacis AND Delphinium ambiguum are accepted scientific names. It says Consolida ajacis is a synonym of Delphinium ajacis. Previously, The Plant List (no longer maintained), said Delphinium ajacis was a synonym of Consolida ajacis. It also listed Delphinium ambiguum as an accepted name (with Consolida ambigua as a synonym). At one point, Consolida ambigua, Delphinium ajacis, and Delphinium ambiguum were all synonyms of Consolida ajacis.

Consolida ajacis (L.) Schur could be the correct and accepted scientific name for the Rocket Larkspur. It was described as such by Philipp Johann Ferdinand Schur in Verhandlungen und Mittheilungen des Siebenbürgischen Vereins für Naturwissenschaften zu Hermannstadt in 1853. It was first named and described as Delphinium ajacis (see below).

Delphinium ajacis L. could be, once again, the correct and accepted scientific name for the Rocket Larkspur. It was named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Although Plants of the World Online by Kew says that Delphinium ajacis is now the correct and accepted name for this plant, certain key people are not in agreement. That, for one reason, is why I am not going to commit to saying which one is the correct and accepted scientific name. The name could change back again. If you look up this plant online, there are many websites that say one way or the other.

A while back when I was researching the difference between Consolida and Delphinium, Consolida were the annuals and Delphinium were the perennials. 

Typically, Consolida are annuals and their flowers are open and loosely branched. Delphinium flowers are more or less in a column. When I bought my Delphinium plants, the tag just said “Delphinium Mix’. Now I know why they looked like my Consolida ajacis… They are the same plant!!!

Delphinium ambiguum L. was first named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second edition of Species Plantarum in 1762. The scientific name was later changed to Conlsolida ambigua (L.) P.W.Ball & Heywood. It was named and described as such by Peter William Ball and Vernon Hilton Heywood in Feddes Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis (Berlin) in 1962.

Now, if you look at the leaves and characteristics of both plants, whatever you call them, they seem to be exactly alike. So, when it is all said and done (if that will ever happen), I think one will win over the other. Since Delphinium ajacis was named and described first, it will probably win the prize. However, if they decide to use the Consolida genus, then it will be Consolida ajacis again.

 

Consolida ajacis, Giant Larkspur, in the bed behind the den on 5-10-10, #55-33.

Consolida ajacis, Giant Larkspur, in the bed behind the den on 5-10-10, #55-33.

I think the seeds came from an Ebay seller Suzanne bought seeds from in 2009. The name on the package just said “Larkspur”. They came up every year in various places from seed and I never knew where they would come up. Sometimes I relocated them and other times I just mowed around them. There were blue, purple, white and pink flowers.

 

Consolida ajacis on 5-1-12, #88-9.

Consolida ajacis on 5-1-12, #88-9. Agave americana subsp. protamericana in the rear.

They are considered an annual, but readily self-seed which means they come up where you really don’t want them sometimes. They are easy to recognize by their ferny foliage. Just dig them up when they come up in the spring and put them where you want them. Even though were self-sowing, not very many came up each spring. They are considered a cool weather annual and in the south, they do fizzle out when it gets hot.

 

Consolida ajacis in pink on 6-14-08, #19-05.

Consolida ajacis in pink on 6-14-09, #19-05.

I must admit, I like the Larkspur and they make great additions to butterfly and hummingbird gardens. Just a great plant for any kind of cottage garden in general. I have to get some seed so I can plant them here on the farm someday. They are a wildflower and they are found in Missouri. Although they are condsidered a native plant in many states in the United States, they are not originally from this country. They are immigrants… 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know.

The websites below use either name, Consolida ajacis and Delphinium ajacis. They are either not up to date or they have chosen to keep the name one way or the other. Maybe the editors figure no matter what name they choose, it will be constantly changing back and forth. 🙂

FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
WIKIPEDIA (CONSOLIDA/DELPHINIUM/SPECIES)
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
DAVE’S GARDEN
ILLINOIS WILDFLOWERS
FINE GARDENING
GO BOTANY
MISSOURIPLANTS.COM

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