Sunshine Farm and Gardens: Rare and Exceptional Plants
Sunshine Farm and Gardens
Rare and Exceptional Plants for the
Discriminating Gardener and Collector

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Delphinium tricorne
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Delphinium tricorne
Click to enlarge

Delphinium tricorne

Delphinium tricorne is one of the earliest native wildflowers to emerge in the Spring.

Hard to believe that such a sensational plant arises from such a tiny tuber, not much larger than the nail on your pinky finger. It's equally hard to believe that such a dramatic plant is so ephemeral. The dark purple flowers do last about two weeks and almost always set seeds.  The seed heads themselves are quite ornamental.

In my shade garden,  Delphinium tricorne occupies a prominent place where it flowers profusely at the time when ferns like Asplenium platyneuron are just awakening and starting to think about unfurling their dormant fronds.  As the Asplenium fully unfolds,  the Delphinium is producing its seedheads and shedding its leaves to give the ferns room to grow,  such good neighbors!

Propagation is easy from the copious amounts of shiny dark seeds that are very reliably produced every year.  We sow them in 4" pots and leave them outside for the Winter as the oscillating temperatures seem to be a requirement of germination. Seedlings are left in the pots for a couple of years. As they gain some size,  they're transplanted into their own individual  pots for subsequent sale.  Of course you can let Mother Nature do her own thing and you'll have a nice colony in just a few years.

Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom -
Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom -
Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - 
Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division -
Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Magnoliopsida
Subclass - Magnoliidae
Order - Ranunculales
Family - Ranunculaceae
Genus - Delphinium
Species - tricorne
Common name - "Dwarf Larkspur"
Synonyms - none
Native range -
USDA Hardiness Zone - at least 5, possibly 4 or 3
Light preference -  Open bright shade to full shade
Soil fertility preference -    Average to rich
Soil pH preference - neutral to acidic
Soil moisture preference - Moist to average
Bloom time -  Very early Spring
Bloom color - Dark Purple       
Fragrance - None
Foliage -  Medium green, dissected
Spread - 12" - 24"
Height - 8" - 18"
Deer palatability - Seems deerproof,  at least my deer don't seem interested
Landscape uses -  Front of shade border or wild garden
Related species - Many native and non native
Medicinal uses - None found

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Barry Glick, Sunshine Farm and Gardens
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Phone: (304) 497-2208

Last modified February 25, 2020