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Delphinium exaltatum flowersDelphinium exaltatum
Wild Larkspur

Magically, this plant is associated with Litha (Midsummer). In England, it was thought to be a favorite of witches. To me, its shape makes it very much a Fairy plant, and it's wonderful for cottage gardens. People considered that the flowers looked like the feet of larks, so consider this plant for bird magic--and as a Venus herb. Oddly enough, a number of plants in this family are named for birds, such as crowfoot, yet the larkspur's Latin name, Delphinium, comes from the fact that the Greeks thought the nectary of the flowers resembled a dolphin, and because of a myth about a dolphin that facing death in spite of its good deeds, was rescued by the gods by being turned into this plant. So larkspur might also be effective in Water magic. This flower is also connected with blood. In one Italian myth, men who slew a dragon cleaned their swords on the grass, the the drops of the dragon's blood became larkspurs. This resonates with the story of Ajax, who was so distraught over not being given the armor of his deceased friend, Achilles, he killed himself with his sword; his drops of blood became larkspurs. Thus, this plant has possibilities as a warrior herb and in dragon magic. Its flower essence encourages leadership, enthusiasm, and service, but in the language of flowers, larkspur stands for fickleness and silliness (sort of the negative side of Venus). Top

Delphinium exaltatumThe flowerheads can be used to make a blue dye for fiber and as a colorant for ritual purposes. However, this plant, especially the root and the seeds, is a deadly poison; it's a member of the buttercup family, the most poisonous of them all, and in the hellebore tribe. It does make a nice cut flower, though. This is the ancestor of domesticated delphiniums, but it is tame enough that it can be grown in containers outside. It's especially nice for planting in open woodland gardens. Top

How to grow wild larkspur
Sow in a paper towel that has been wet and wrung out. Fold and put in a thin baggie, folding the top closed instead of zipping it, and put in the coldest part of the refrigerator or outside in a shed or unheated garage during winter (Outdoor Treatment) for 90 days. Then sow. Transplant to rich, moist soil and full sun up north and afternoon shade farther south (in excess shade, it will be floppy and smallish). Purple or white flowers appear on stalks 4-6ft/120cm tall in July-September and attract butterflies. Deadhead to get more blooms. This plant can stand up to the heat of the North American continental summers, unlike its domesticated delphinium relatives. It is hardy in zones 4-9 (temperate and warm climate areas). General growing info. Top

Delphinium exaltatum
Wild Larkspur
65 seeds $3.75

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Go to dried larkspur flowers

Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Repels Ghosts
Warrior Herb
Protection Spells
Summer Solstice Celebrations
Venus Herb

2007, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission