Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Delphinium × occidentale


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Matthews, Robin F. 1993. Delphinium × occidentale. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : DELOCC SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : DEOC COMMON NAMES : western larkspur tall larkspur TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of western larkspur is Delphinium × occidentale (S. Wats.) S. Wats. (pro sp.). It is a hybrid of subalpine larkspur (D. barbeyi) and Sierra larkspur (D. glaucum) [12]. LIFE FORM : Forb FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Western larkspur is distributed from northeastern Oregon to Montana and south to Nevada, Utah, and Colorado [9,10,11,15,27]. In addition, Welsh and others [27] report populations in Arizona and New Mexico. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES23 Fir - spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES28 Western hardwoods FRES29 Sagebrush FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES44 Alpine STATES : AZ CO ID MT NV NM OR UT WY BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K011 Western ponderosa forest K012 Douglas-fir forest K015 Western spruce - fir forest K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest K022 Great Basin pine forest K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub K038 Great Basin sagebrush K052 Alpine meadows and barren K055 Sagebrush steppe K063 Foothills prairie SAF COVER TYPES : 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 208 Whitebark pine 210 Interior Douglas-fir 211 White fir 217 Aspen 218 Lodgepole pine 219 Limber pine 237 Interior ponderosa pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Western larkspur is common in open coniferous forests and aspen, sagebrush, mountain brush, and meadow habitats. It is listed as a codominant herbaceous layer species in the following publication: Subalpine forb community types of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming [8] Some forbs associated with western larkspur in subalpine forb communities include mountain bluebells (Mertensia ciliata), horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), cowparsnip (Heracleum lanatum), western coneflower (Rudbeckia occidentalis), arrowleaf groundsel (Senecio triangularis), cutleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza macrophylla), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus), fernleaf licoriceroot (Ligusticum filicinum), tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia cespitosa), mountain brome (Bromus carinatus), and cutting wheatgrass (Agropyron caninus) [8].


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Western larkspur-dominated tall forb communities are utilized by elk, moose, deer, cattle, and domestic sheep [8]. Cattle prefer western larkspur flowers and immature seed pods [18,19]. PALATABILITY : The palatability of western larkspur is rated fair to good for sheep, poor to fair for cattle, and poor for horses [4]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : Western larkspur is poor in protein and energy value [4]. COVER VALUE : Western larkspur provides good cover for small nongame birds and small mammals [4]. VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Larkspur species are cultivated as ornamentals [3]. Crushed larkspurs (Delphinium spp.) were used by Native Americans for controlling lice and other insects [23]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The tall larkspurs (western larkspur and Barbey larkspur [D. barbeyi]) are highly poisonous and are responsible for more cattle deaths on mountain ranges in the western United States than any other plant species. Presence of the tall larkspurs on cattle allotments dictates when and how ranges are grazed. As many as 1,000 head of cattle have been lost in a 1-year period on managed rangelands of the Intermountain Forest Service Region. Western larkspur is palatable to both cattle and sheep, but sheep can tolerate about four times more western larkspur in their diet than cattle. Western larkspur-dominated tall forb communities on high mountain ranges are often considered good sheep foraging areas [18,19]. Western larkspur produces several alkaloids. Highest concentrations of these alkaloids occur in spring and early summer while plants are in the vegetative stage of growth. Toxicity generally declines as plants mature. Toxicity varies between sites or even on the same site in different years. Total alkaloid content of western larkspur may increase with the application of herbicides. Plants remain palatable, however, which may result in loss of livestock [18,19]. Three potential methods for controlling western larkspur have been suggested. First, defer grazing of larkspur-infested ranges until after flowering, when alkaloid levels have declined. Second, sequentially graze sheep before cattle, close-herding sheep through larkspur-infested areas to trample plants and make them unacceptable to cattle. Third, control western larkspur with herbicides [18,19]. Glyphosphate, metsulfuron, triclopyr, and picloram control western larkspur [20,29,30].


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Western larkspur is a robust perennial forb with deep, woody roots. Stems may be numerous, and are usually 24 to 80 inches (60-200 cm) tall and hollow. Leaves are alternate and palmately divided. Flowers are borne in racemes and the fruit is a many-seeded follicle. Seeds are about 0.08 to 0.1 inches (0.2-0.25 cm) long [10,15,23,27]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Western larkspur reproduces by seed [4,17]. Seeds may be stored in the soil [25]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Western larkspur is found on streambanks and moist talus slopes, and in meadows, thickets, and open woods [5,9,10,15]. It most often occurs on moist to wet sites and is often concentrated in areas of late snowmelt [8,23]. Duncecep larkspur is found on dry, shallow gravel to sandy clay, but grows best on rich loamy soils [3,25]. It grows well on level ground to steep slopes [4,8]. Upper and lower elevational limits of western larkspur in a few western states follow [4]: Feet Meters _______________________________________________ Utah 5,200-10,000 1,575-3,030 Colorado 6,500- 9,800 1,970-2,970 Wyoming 5,500-10,000 1,670-3,030 Montana 7,800- 8,500 2,360-2,575 SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Western larkspur grows well in open to shaded sites [3,25]. In subalpine forb communities of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, western larkspur is found on pristine sites as well as sites highly disturbed by pocket gophers [8]. It is also found in climax trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides)/tall forb stands and seral trembling aspen-subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) stands in the Intermountain Region [16]. Western larkspur occurs in Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis)-cutting wheatgrass and mountain big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. vaseyana) habitat types in the Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming [24]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Western larkspur begins growth in late spring. It flowers in July and August and the seeds mature from August to September [23].


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Information on adaptations of western larkspur for survival following fire is not available in the literature. Seeds may survive in the soil seedbank [25]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Secondary colonizer - off-site seed Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Western larkspur is probably killed by most fires. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Information regarding the response of western larkspur following fire is lacking in available literature. Western larkspur was not present in prefire communities but became an important species following moderately severe to severe prescribed fires in trembling aspen stands in Idaho. Its method of colonization was not determined, but it may have invaded the burned area from other sites [2]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Delphinium × occidentale
REFERENCES : 1. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 2. Brown, James K.; DeByle, Norbert V. 1989. Effects of prescribed fire on biomass and plant succession in western aspen. Res. Pap. INT-412. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 16 p. [9286] 3. Dayton, William A. 1960. Notes on western range forbs: Equisetaceae through Fumariaceae. Agric. Handb. 161. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 254 p. [767] 4. Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p. [806] 5. Dorn, Robert D. 1988. Vascular plants of Wyoming. Cheyenne, WY: Mountain West Publishing. 340 p. [6129] 6. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 8. Gregory, Shari. 1983. Subalpine forb community types of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. Final Report. U.S. Forest Service Cooperative Education Agreement: Contract OM 40-8555-3-115. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 100 p. [1040] 9. Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed. Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p. [6851] 10. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1964. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 597 p. [1166] 11. Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p. [1168] 12. Kartesz, John T.; Meacham, Christopher A. (1999). Synthesis of the North American flora (Windows Version 1.0), [CD-ROM]. Available: North Carolina Botanical Garden. In cooperation with the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [2001, January 16]. [36745] 13. Kingsbury, John M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 626 p. [122] 14. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 15. Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p. [13798] 16. Mueggler, Walter F. 1988. Aspen community types of the Intermountain Region. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-250. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 135 p. [5902] 17. Parker, Karl G. 1975. Some important Utah range plants. Extension Service Bulletin EC-383. Logan, UT: Utah State University. 174 p. [9878] 18. Ralphs, M. H.; Olsen, J. D. 1987. Alkaloids and palatability of poisonous plants. In: Provenza, Frederick D.; Flinders, Jerran T.; McArthur, E. Durant, compilers. Proceedings--symposium on plant-herbivore interactions; 1985 August 7-9; Snowbird, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-222. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 78-83. [7400] 19. Ralphs, M. H.; Pfister, J. A.; Olsen, J. D.; [and others]. 1989. Reducing larkspur poisoning in cattle on mountain ranges. Utah Science. 50(2): 109-115. [9095] 20. Ralphs, M. H.; Whitson, T. D.; Ueckert, D. N. 1991. Herbicide control of poisonous plants. Rangelands. 13(3): 73-77. [14776] 21. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 22. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 23. Stubbendieck, J.; Hatch, Stephan L.; Hirsch, Kathie J. 1986. North American range plants. 3rd ed. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 465 p. [2270] 24. Tweit, Susan J.; Houston, Kent E. 1980. Grassland and shrubland habitat types of the Shoshone National Forest. Cody, WY: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Shoshone National Forest. 143 p. [2377] 25. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p. [2387] 26. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 27. Welsh, Stanley L.; Atwood, N. Duane; Goodrich, Sherel; Higgins, Larry C., eds. 1987. A Utah flora. Great Basin Naturalist Memoir No. 9. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University. 894 p. [2944] 28. Whitson, Tom D., ed. 1987. Weeds and poisonous plants of Wyoming and Utah. Res. Rep. 116-USU. Laramie, WY: University of Wyoming, College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. 281 p. [2939] 29. Mickelsen, Larry V.; Ralphs, Michael H.; Turner, David L.; [and others]. 1990. Herbicidal control of duncecap larkspur (Delphinium occidentale). Weed Science. 38(2): 153-157. [15477] 30. Pfister, James A.; Ralphs, Michael H.; Manners, Gary D.; [and others]. 1993. Tall larkspur poisoning in cattle: current research and recommendations. Rangelands. 15(4): 157-160. [21999]