I can picture it now: you’re eagerly navigating to floom.com, thinking to yourself, ‘what will the flower of the week be?! Your eyes land on the title and you mouth the evocative compound word to yourself. All lush vowel sounds punctured with subtly jagged consonants. Larkspur.
Larkspur? As flower of the week? But wait, isn’t that the name of the horse that won the 1962 Epsom Derby? Or the Californian city in which the final scenes of Dirty Harry were set? Surely they’re not referring to the archaic Larkspur radio system used specifically by the British Army between circa 1950 and 1975? Ah of course, you think, breathing a sigh of relief as the world begins to make sense again. Larkspur is the common name for the delphinium - that’s the flower of the week.
WRONG AGAIN. Well, sort of. It’s true that larkspur is the common name for the delphinium, but as you know we like to draw attention to some of the world’s lesser known floral beauties - and larkspur is also the common name of the consolida (plus, you know, we already featured the delphinium a while back).
While closely related to the better-known delphinium, the consolida differs most noticeably in the structure of its flowers: open, loosely-arranged spikes of pink, blue, white and purple petals replace the dense column of flowers found in a delphinium.
That spiky assemblage makes it, in these eyes at least, the rightful owner of the larkspur name - a name that evokes in very literal terms the straight hind claw of a lark. Okay so there’s a leap of imagination required, but it’s certainly a less far-fetched comparison than with the delphinium, who’s columns of flowers bare more resemblance to [a bird with column-like legs, I guess]. Don’t even ask me how an antiquated radio system got the name.
Anyway we’re going to end with a Native American legend relating to the larkspur, because frankly it makes a nice change from all the dysfunctional goings-on amongst the Greek gods. Supposedly, the larkspur got its name from a celestial being who descended from heaven via a long spike made out of pieces of parted sky. As he climbed down, the sun dried out the spike and it scattered in pieces once more in the wind. Wherever those pieces of sky touched the earth, great larkspur flowers would burst forth.