Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre
Author: Rydb.


Colorado larkspur


Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Close up of flowers of Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre and bee, by Scott Smith
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Close up of Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre by Scott Smith
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Taxonomic Comments

Weber and Wittmann (2012) place the genus Delphinium in the Helleboraceae (Hellebore Family). Weber and Wittmann (2012) include Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre more broadly under D. ramosum (i.e., they do not distinguish the variety). Ackerifled (2012) recognized Delphinium alpestre based on smaller size and alpine habitat.

Ranks and Status

Global rank: G2
State rank: S2
Federal protection status: None
State protection status: None

[+] Description and Phenology

Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre: artist unknown. Source: New Mexico Rare Plants at http://nmrareplants.unm.edu.
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Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre by Patty McAuliffe
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General description: Perennial herb 5-25 cm tall; leaves all on stem, but crowded near base, petioles 1-10 cm long, blades 2-5 cm long and about as wide, palmately divided into 5 main lobes, each lobe further dissected into smaller lobes; inflorescence a raceme of 2-8 flowers; sepals dull blue or dull blue tinged with brown, especially on the back, spreading or forward-pointing, 11-14 mm long, the upper sepal extended basally into a spur 8-12 mm long; lower petal blades cleft, 4-6 mm long (New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council 1999).

Look Alikes: Closely related to Delphinium ramosum. This variety is smaller, and occurs at higher elevations.

Phenology: Flowers mid July to mid August (September) (Colorado Natural Heritage Program 2012).

[+] Herbarium Photos

Images of Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre housed at the Colorado State University Herbarium.

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[+] Habitat

Habitat of Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre by Scott Smith
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Open alpine meadows and talus slopes. Associated plant species include: Packera cana, Polemonium viscosum, Heuchera parvifolia, Sedum integrifolium.

Elevation Range: 10,846 - 14,255 feet (3,306 - 4,345 meters)

[+] Distribution

Distribution of Delphinium ramosusm var. alpestre in Colorado according to mapped land ownership/management boundaries (CNHP 2012, COMaP v9 ).
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Distribution of Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre in Colorado
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Colorado endemic: No
Global range: South central mountains of Colorado, and northern New Mexico.
State range: Known from Chaffee, Costilla, Fremont, Huerfano, Las Animas, Mineral, Park, Saguache, and Summit counties in Colorado. Estimated range in Colorado is 17,864 square kilometers (6897 square miles), calculated in GIS by drawing a minimum convex polygon around the known occurrences (calculated by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program in 2008).

[+] Threats and Management Issues

Summary results of an analysis of the status of Delphinium ramosum var. alpestre based on several ranking factors. This species was concluded to be “Effectively Conserved”. From Rondeau et al. 2011.
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The primary threat at this time is considered to be recreation/hiking (Rondeau et al. 2011). It is not known if all of the occurrences are or are not threatened by these activities. This species occurs in alpine habitat where threats may include accidental trampling by hikers and habitat alteration due to global warming.

[+] References

    • Ackerfield, J. 2012. The Flora of Colorado. Colorado State University Herbarium. 433 pp.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2006. The Third Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G2 Plants of Southeast Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. Biodiversity Tracking and Conservation System. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.
    • Colorado Natural Heritage Program. 2012. The Ninth Annual Colorado Rare Plant Symposium: G2 and G3 Plants of Southeastern Colorado. Symposium Minutes. Available on-line http://www.cnhp.colostate.edu/teams/botany.asp#symposia.
    • Harrington, H.D. 1954. Manual of the plants of Colorado. Sage Press, Chicago. 666 pp.
    • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
    • Lavender, A.E., M.M. Fink, S.E. Linn, D.M. Theobald. 2011. Colorado Ownership, Management, and Protection v9 Database. Colorado Natural Heritage Program and Geospatial Centroid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO. (30 September).
    • Martin, W.C., and C.R. Hutchins. 1980-1981. A flora of New Mexico. 1980, Vol. 1; 1981, Vol. 2. J. Cramer, in der A.R. Gantner Verlag, K.G., Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 2591 pp.
    • Neely, B., S. Panjabi, E. Lane, P. Lewis, C. Dawson, A. Kratz, B. Kurzel, T. Hogan, J. Handwerk, S. Krishnan, J. Neale, and N. Ripley. 2009. Colorado Rare Plant Conservation Strategy, Developed by the Colorado Rare Plant conservation Initiative. The Nature Conservancy, Boulder, Colorado, 117 pp.
    • New Mexico Native Plant Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. Univ. New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 291 pp.
    • New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council. 1999. New Mexico Rare Plants. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico Rare Plants Home Page. http://nmrareplants.unm.edu (Latest update: 30 March 2012).
    • Rondeau, R., K. Decker, J. Handwerk, J. Siemers, L. Grunau, and C. Pague. 2011. The state of Colorado's biodiversity 2011. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy. Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
    • USDA, NRCS. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 555 pp.
    • Weber, W. A. and R. C. Wittmann. 2012. Colorado Flora, Western Slope, A Field Guide to the Vascular Plants, Fourth Edition. Boulder, Colorado. 532 pp.

Last Updated

2012-10-03