Yellow delphiniums

Jim McKenney
Fri, 23 Jan 2004 17:00:59 PST
Does anyone out there know if Delphinium zalil, D. sulphureum and D.
semibarbatum the same? What is the preferred, current name?

And Mary Sue, when I pulled up your photo of Delphinium luteum, at first I
thought I was looking at an Aquilegia. Those darn hummingbirds are going to
mess everything up!

Jim McKenney

At 07:05 AM 1/23/2004 -0800, you wrote:
>Dear All,
>O.K. I'll bite on this one. For all of you who have read my comments on 
>Delphiniums before you can just hit delete. In the early days of another 
>unnamed bulb list I caused a huge controversy simply by asking if we could 
>discuss Delphiniums. It was amazing how strongly some people reacted so I 
>have kept a lower profile about them and have resisted making a wiki page 
>for them even though I have really wanted to.
>There are some that are definitely tuberous, but others would be described 
>as perennials with stick like roots. If you used the definition of geophyte 
>as something that you could put in a envelope and send to someone when it 
>was dormant, they would surely qualify, but if they had to be bulbs, corms, 
>tubers or rhizomes, most of them would not. They are in the Ranunculaceae 
>family and we have a couple of genera in that family with species that are 
>considered "bulbs", but many species are a stretch.
>In California we have two kinds: those that are coastal and foothill plants 
>that start into growth after it starts raining usually in winter and bloom 
>in spring and  go dormant in summer and those that live under snow in 
>winter in the mountains, start to grow when the snow melts and  bloom in 
>the summer.  Many of the latter are found in areas that are still quite wet 
>into summer and can be quite tall.
>I've been growing as many of the coastal and foothill species (many of 
>which are much shorter) that I can find seed of and am having really good 
>luck growing them like bulbs, moving them to the shade in summer when they 
>dry out. They start into growth when it starts raining, sometimes sooner if 
>I water them in the fall. They are beautiful, long blooming, and have been 
>really easy for me, returning year after year when I leave them in their 
>pots. They bloom from seed in 1-3 years for me.
>I've lost some I've planted out, but some of them are returning. I was 
>quite pleased to see Delphinium luteum returning and looking quite vigorous 
>this year from one I decided to try in the ground a year ago. I would 
>suspect the ones that Jane sent out have done just fine. Delphinium luteum 
>is extremely rare, apparently found in just one place near Bodega Bay, 
>Sonoma County, California, south of my location (north of San Francisco on 
>the coast). My climate shouldn't be too different so I'd love to get some 
>established in my garden. It probably would have made my favorite list if I 
>thought it would be allowed. I've just added a picture of it to the wiki, 
>but will take it off in a month or so if the  consensus is that we 
>shouldn't include them. Letting me call them geophytes would make me very 
>happy. :-)
>I believe the species Jim mentioned is supposed to be tuberous. Some of the 
>tuberous ones I grow have very tiny tubers. When he mentioned "the yellow 
>Delphinium" little did he know that we West Coasters might have a different 
>species in mind.
>You have to protect these from the snails (and I found this year from the 
>fall birds who found the leaves quite tasty when they first appeared). Mine 
>are visited by quite a few pollinators and the seed pods often break apart 
>before you notice meaning that you will get seedlings in other pots. I have 
>some mixed Delphinium Cyclamen pots and I haven't quite had the heart to 
>root them out. The Cyclamens reappear before the Delphininums.
>Mary Sue
>>Jim asked,
>>Has anyone out there tried the yellow Delphinium? It qualifies as a
>>>geophyte. [D. zalil/sulphureum]
>Mary Sue Ittner
>California's North Coast
>Wet mild winters with occasional frost
>Dry mild summers
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