Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, perennial, rarely annual or biennial; roots tuberous or not; stems erect or reduced. Leaves radical or cauline or both, palmately lobed, often further divided or dissected. Flowers zygomorphic, usually in terminal racemes or panicles, sometimes only 1 or 2 on a stem; pedicels subtended by leafy bracts and one or two bracteoles. Sepals 5, petaloid, the uppermost (posterior) sepal spurred, the laterals in two similar pairs. Petals (honey leaves) 4, in 2 unlike pairs, the upper pair produced into nectariferous spurs that extend into the sepal spur and the upper part or lamina more or less cleaver-shaped; the lower pair with a slender claw and an expanded lamina which is often vertical to the claw. Stamens included, numerous in 8 spiral series; filaments broadened at base; anthers short. Carpels 3 - 5, usually free. Follicles 3 - 5, free, erect or divergent; seeds obpyramidal, winged or not at angles, variously beset with overlapping scales in transverse rows or ridges on surface.

North temperate regions; ca 200 species, 24 species in India, mainly in Himalayan regions.

Literature. MUNZ, P.A. (1967 - 68) A synopsis of the Asian species of Delphinium sensu stricto. J. Arn. Arb. 48: 249 - 302, 476 - 545 & 49: 73 - 166, 233 - 259.


1a. Roots tuberous, clustered, short, vertical; flowers small, crowded in dense racemes; pedicels up to 1 cm long; sepals ca 1 cm long 2
b. Roots not tuberous, mostly slender or cylindrical, rhizome-like; flowers larger in lax racemes; pedicels longer than 1 cm; sepals more than 1 cm long 4
2a. Pedicels with some spreading hairs; spur curved into a hook at the end 22. Delphinium uncinatum
b. Pedicels with closely appressed hairs; spur straight, not hooked at the end 3
3a. Upper sepal 6 - 9 mm long, bearded; spur 5 - 7 mm long 13. Delphinium kohatense
b. Upper sepal 10 - 13 mm long, glabrous; spur 14 - 16 mm long 19. Delphinium roylei
4a. Plants mostly very hairy ; sepals veiny, dry and papery in age, more or less persistent; spur thick, 4 - 10 mm in diam, at base 5
b. Plants usually less hairy; sepals not so veiny and papery, caducous; spur slender 12
5a. Spur equal to or exceeding the sepals in length 6
b. Spur much shorter than the upper sepal 7
6a. Flowers few in lax corymbs or racemes; sepals hairy both surfaces; upper petal sparsely hairy at tip; spur 10 - 20 cm long follicles hairy 24. Delphinium viscosum
b. Flowers in 10 - 30 cm long racemes; sepals usually glabrous on inner surface; upper petal glabrous; spur ca 10 mm long; follicles villous 23. Delphinium vestitum
7a. Inflorescence crowded, subcapitate to elongate with pedicels adpressed to axis 6. Delphinium densiflorum
b. Inflorescence lax, either recemose or corymbose or 1-flowered; pediccls not adpressed to axis 8
8a. Upper sepal mostly 15 - 20 mm long 9
b. Upper sepal mostly 20 - 30 mm long 10
9a. Plants up to 10 cm high; flowers 1 - 2; sepals glabrous inside 14. Delphinium lacostei
b. Plants 40 - 100 cm tall; flowers several; sepals hairy inside and outside 23. Delphinium vestitum
10a. Leaves deeply finely dissected into many narrow lobes, mostly 1.5 - 2 mm wide 9. Delphinium glaciale
b. Leaves not so finely dissected 11
11a. Plants not glandular hairy in upper parts; bracteoles mostly near to the flower on pedicels 2. Delphinium brunonianum
b. Plants not glandular hairy in upper parts; bracteoles placed away from flower base on pedicels 5. Delphinium cashmerianum
12a. Leaves dissected into linear, more or less oblong, 2 - 3 mm wide, ultimate segments 13
b. Leaves with broader, lanceolate to ovate, over 5 mm wide, ultimate segments 19
13a. Spur 1.5 - 2 times as long as the upper sepal 3. Delphinium caeruleum
b. Spur not markedly longer than sepals 14
14a. Upper sepals 12 - 15 mm long; upper petals much darker than sepals 10. Delphinium incisum
b. Upper sepals 16 - 25 mm long; upper petals not darker than sepals 15
15a. Flowers several in an inflorescence; sepals largely 8 - 15 mm long 16
b. Flowers mostly one to a stem; sepals 15 - 25 mm long 17
16a. Pedicels mostly 1 - 2 cm long, with a somewhat recurved tip; bracteoles 2 - 3 mm long. placed below the middle on the pedicel; follicles densely strigose 12. Delphinium koelzii
b. Pedicels 1 - 4 cm long, not recurved at tip; bracteoles 2 - 4 mm long, placed near the middle on the pedicel; sepals 12 - 15 mm long; follicles sparsely hairy to subglabrous 7. Delphinium denudatum
17a. Plants glabrous or subglabrous on stems and inflorescence axes 11. Delphinium kamaonense
b. Plants strigose to hirsute on stems and/or inflorescence axes 18
18a. Flowers solitary on each stem; spur 10 - 15 mm long 17. Delphinium nortonii
b. Flowers 3 - 6 in open subcorymbose inflorescences; spur 20 - 25 mm long 4. Delphinium candelabrum
19a. Petals darker than sepals, almost black 20
b. Petals not darker than sepals 21
20a. Stems 10 - 15 cm high, mostly glabrous; pedicels glandular-pubescent; sepals glabrous outside; spur 12 - 15 mm long; seeds not winged 18. Delphinium pyramidale
b. Stems 4 - 15 dm high, mostly retrorse-pubescent; pedicels not glandular-pubescent; sepals hairy out- side; spur 18 - 20 mm long; seeds winged along sides 21. Delphinium stapeliosum
21a. Spur obviously longer than the blade of the upper sepal, downwardly curved almost into a half circle 8. Delphinium drepanocentrum
b. Spur not or scarcely longer than the blade of the upper sepal; spur not curved thus 22
22a. Spur considerably shorter than the blade of tbe upper sepal 16. Delphinium malabaricum
b. Spur about as long as the blade of the upper sepal 23
23a. Inflorescence with some glandular hairs 20. Delphinium scabriflorum
b. Inflorescence lacking glandular hairs 24
24a. Bracteoles placed near the middle of the pedicel; sepals densely pubescent, deep blue; spur 20 - 22 mm long; stamens 8 - 9 mm long; seeds rounded in outline 1. Delphinium altissimum
b. Bracteoles placed near the flower at tip of the pedicel; sepals minutely strigulose, rich purple to deep maroon; spur 12 - 15 mm long; stamens 5 - 6 mm long; seeds angled 15. Delphinium ludlowii

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