These two July birth flowers differ greatly in appearance. The water lily makes its home on the surface of water and has a large lily pad with a single flower in the center. These majestic plants are often referred to as “Queen of the Water” and the flowers almost look like a crown and is also called a Lotus flower. The delphinium, on the other hand, might look like a single flower but is made up of numerous tiny flowers shaped like a poker. Other names for the Delphinium / Larkspur include Knight’s Spur, Lark’s Heel or Lark’s Claw. Although the Delphinium and Larkspur look very similar, there are subtle differences between the two. You only have to look at the delicate flowers to see this. The Delphinium has trumpet-like flowers while the Larkspurs flower is more open without the trumpet-like tube of the Delphinium.
The Larkspur, also known as "Elijah's Chariot," the flower of attachment, devotion and sincerity. Related to buttercups, these flowers are members of the Ranunculaceae family and make up the genus Consolida – which contains around 40 varieties that are native to mild climates. The Larkspur is known as a symbol of an open heart and devoted attachment. Since the shape of these flowers resembles parts of the Lark (bird), it is no wonder that these beautiful flowers also symbolize swiftness and lightness after the Lark in flight.
Many people confuse larkspur plants with delphinium plants. Although they look similar and are both members of the buttercup family, larkspur are annuals with more delicate flowers in shades of white, pink and lavender. Delphinium are perennials with more substantial flowers in shades of purple, blue, red, yellow and white.
A bit of a hypocrite, larkspur's mildly-poisonous flower is considered to be an antidote to poisonous stings and according to history it was originally used as a deterrent for scorpions. It is also used as an insecticide in many Countries since the late 1700s. The North American Plains are strewn with their blooms every spring through late summer. It is said that Larkspur first sprouted after the famous Battle of Troy. The warrior Ajax was supposed to receive slain Achilles' armor, but took his own life when the honor was passed to another warrior. On the spot where his blood pooled, it is told, there grew the first Larkspur. A bit morbid perhaps, but interesting none the less.
Larkspur were very popular gift flowers in Victorian times. In general, the flowers symbolize an open heart and can be associated with strong romantic feelings. Much like with roses, Larkspur colors each tell a different tale:
- Pink larkspur flowers represent fickleness.
- White blossoms signify a happy-go-lucky nature.
- Purple represent first love and a sweet disposition.
In my central Texas, and other warm winter climates, sow seeds in fall or pick up nursery transplants in the spring. Be sure to water seedlings, as you should any wildflowers, if finicky Mother Nature chooses not to rain on your garden. Once established though, do not over water.