Delphinium is a group or a genus of over 300 species of plants, specifically ones that flower, in the Ranunculaceae family. Native to the Northern Hemisphere, Delphinium grows in various settings depending on the species. Species with tall stems and an abundance of flowers grow in forests and those with short stems and fewer flowers grow in prairies. The flowers are also found in the high mountains of the tropical regions of Africa. The delphinium flower has several meanings, spanning over centuries. The name Delphinium is derived from the Greek word delphinion, meaning ‘dolphin’. This is owing to the shape of the flower since the closed flower buds resemble the nose of a dolphin.
It is known by various names like larkspur, bird’s claw, meadow flowers and knight’s spur. A beautiful flower to look at, Delphinium attracts people, who must, however, proceed with caution. Why, you ask? All species of Delphinium are extremely toxic to humans and livestock. All parts of the plant are dangerous and can cause digestive problems as well as skin irritation and rashes. In severe cases, Delphinium poisoning can cause death due to its effects on the heart, causing slow heart rate, low blood pressure and breathing difficulty, and its effects on the brain and muscles. Such plants on hills and pastures often cause the death of cattle, which is why many ranchers avoid high elevations where the plant can be found. During the summer, however, the toxicity of the plant is reduced.
Botanical Divisions of Delphinium
This flower is cultivated by people far and wide and is divided into three broad groups – Belladonnas, Elate and Pacific Hybrids.
- Belladonnas – These are the tall varieties that grow in the wild. They bloom in the early and late summer and have leaves similar to palm leaves.
- Elate – These are shrub varieties of Delphinium. They also bloom in the summer but may bloom in Autumn as well, if the flowers are cut off. Elatums have flowers with two sets of petals and an outer ring of five petals and an inner ring of eight.
- Pacific Hybrids – These resemble the Elate group but are much taller and would once grow only of hand-pollinated.
Meanings of Delphinium
The delphinium flower meanings are many, all of which impart positivity:
- Openness to Experience
- Remembrance of a loved one who has passed
- New opportunities
- Positive communication
It is also the July birth flower and can be used to represent a July birthday. It sends a message to always protect yourself and be cautious of those that surround you. Delphinium also sends encouraging messages, inspiring people to be more open to new experiences and opportunities, which is why it is often used in a romantic context. In the Victorian Era, the flower language of Delphinium was levity. The various colors of Delphinium have different meanings.
Blue is the most commonly occurring Delphiunium blossom and symbolizes dignity, grace, trust, youth, new beginnings and reminiscence.
White is a symbol of purity, innocence, tranquillity and peace. The white delphinium flower means youth and is often gifted to newborn children or people getting baptized, symbolizing renewal or new life.
Pink Delphiniums also celebrate new life, usually the birth of a female. Other than this, they are also said to represent romance, love and affection.
Purple Delphiniums carry all the symbolic significance of blue Delphiniums. In addition, their unique and regal appearance has led to their representation of royalty and grace as well.
Fascinating Facts About Delphinium
- Delphinium is a member of the same family as buttercups.
- Delphinium has its place in Greek mythology. According to legends, Delphinium has its origins in the blood of Ajax, a Trojan warrior. When he died, these flowers bloomed where his blood fell and its petals were inscribed with Ai, meaning ‘alas’ in Greek.
- Due to its toxicity, delphinium has never been used for consumption. However, the potency and vibrancy of its colors and pigments made a place for it in the manufacturing of dyes by North Americans and Europeans. Its abundance and accessibility also factored into this use.
- Most species of Delphiuniums that we see today are hybrids.
- They are known to cure and protect against scorpion stings. People used to carry them around because of this, and hence it is said to ward off negative energy.
- Its medicinal uses include warding off parasites in the body and promoting relaxation. However, Delphinium as medicine is less widely used in modern times.
When to Gift Someone Delphiniums
Delphiniums are used mainly for ornamental purposes, but they can make for meaningful gifts as well. Due to their varied symbolic significance, Delphiniums can be gifted on various occasions.
The most obvious would be to someone whose birthday is in the month of July. It being their birth flower, would make a wonderful present.
The delphinium flower means encouragement and openness to new things. If someone is at a low point in their lives or feels lost, presenting them with Delphinium can be a symbol of your support and encouragement. It can serve as a sign for them to enjoy change and newness.
As mentioned previously, white Delphiniums are auspicious for baptisms or newborns.
Pink Delphiniums can be gifted to your significant other, for they symbolize love and affection. They can also symbolize youth and renewal of passion, enhancing their romantic significance.
It represents positive communication and pleasant interactions, making it the perfect part of the bouquet gifted to mend relationships.
Delphiniums are also gifted to people when you wish to encourage them to do their best on something. If someone you know has a job interview, a new project or any such event, gifting them this flower can be a symbol of your support and protection.
While flowers are often used simply as decorations in homes and events, all of them have specific meanings and cultural significance. These connotations must not be neglected. Delphiniums appear delicate and beautiful, yet unassuming. Their cultural and symbolic significance on the other hand is deep and wonderful. The delphinium flower has a variety of meanings, all bringing light, joy and happiness to the reciever’s life.