Everything there is to know about delphinium: its origins, symbolism and care instructions. The only flower that comes in many shades of blue, a rare colour among flowers!

Characteristics of the delphinium

The delphinium (also known as larkspur) is used very frequently in bouquets. It is very recognisable due to its shape: lots of small, uniquely shaped flowers on top of one another along a long stem. These stems can reach up to 2 metres in height! 

The most recognisable colour that the delphinium comes in is blue, and it comes in various shades of blue to boot. For example, there are bright blue varieties, like a summer sky. The delphinium also comes in softer summer shades such as white and lilac. 

Where does the name derive from?

The name larkspur refers to the protruding parts at the back of the flower, which are called spurs. However, most florists use the botanical name ‘delphinium’. This name is derived from the Latin word for dolphin, because while they are still in bud the tiny flowers of delphiniums kind of look like dolphins!

The symbolic meaning of the delphinium

The delphinium mainly symbolises truth and protection, but it also has a number of other positive meanings; it also signifies health, fun, a big heart and attachment in love. As such, delphiniums are an excellent addition to almost any bouquet. 

The origins of delphinium

Larkspurs are true garden flowers; they always have been. This is because they were seen as ‘pointless’ flowers, in that they could not be used for either herbal purposes, medicinal purposes or as food. 

The delphinium was first described in a book called ‘Hortus Eytettensis’, which appeared in 1613. It was grouped with monkshood (also known as wolfsbane) at the time, and even now people sometimes confuse monkshood for delphinium. Understandably so, because they are similar flowers. For example, they both feature small blooms along a long stem.