TYPICAL DELPHINIUM FLORET
coloured bracts of a delphinium floret are the sepals. Looking at the back of a
floret, you see that the uppermost sepal has a tubular
backwards extension or spur. The petals form a separate cluster in the
centre of the flower, that is commonly called the eye.
The top petals have tubular spurs that contain nectar.
These nectaries are normally hidden inside the spur of
the top sepal. The petals surround the anthers and
|The wild delphinium species,
D. trolliifolium, that grows near the Columbia river
in Oregon and Washington State illustrates these features
very well. There are five blue sepals, one with a long
pair of petals are white with nectaries in their spurs.
The lower pair of petals are blue and these are sometimes
called 'honey leaves'. This plant had the prettiest
flowers in a batch of seedlings and has particularly
broad sepals and pure blue colour.
For a garden delphinium we like
the sepals to be large and the eye to make a good
contrast to the sepals, as in this named delphinium
result of chromosome doubling in the ancestry of such
garden hybrids, this plant is tetraploid and has larger
sepals and petals and more of them than a wild
|Delphinium flowers do
not have to be like these examples and there are many
fascinating variations on the theme in both delphiniums
that grow wild and garden hybrids produced by plant
breeders. The accompanying sections explore a selection
of the variations that occur.