Delphinium variegatum ssp. thornei

Common Names:
Thorne's royal larkspur
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

The conservation of Delphinium variegatum ssp. thornei is fully sponsored.


Three varieties of Delphinium variegatum are known. One, D. var. variegatum, is found along the coast and foothills of central and northern California. Another is the Federally Endangered D. var. kinkiense, or San Clemente Island larkspur, which is endemic to (found only on) San Clemente Island, one of the Channel Islands. The subspecies under the care the Center for Plant Conservation is D. var. thornei, or Thorne's larkspur. This subspecies is also endemic to San Clemente, and also considered rare, even more so than the San Clemente Island larkspur. However, this rarest subspecies has no special legal status, although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers it to be a species of concern.

The San Clemente Island larkspur occurs mainly on the northern end of the island, while Thorne's larkspur occurs mainly on the south. However, the two rare subspecies of San Clemente Island have been the subject of recent study, because there is considerable overlap in their ranges. To date, the only way to consistently distinguish one from the other is by sepal color, with Thorne's larkspur having light blue to bright blue flowers and the endangered San Clemente Island larkspur having white to light blue flowers. Populations that occur in the center of the island have individual plants with white, bright blue, and intermediate flower colors, suggesting that the two subspecies may be hybridizing. (Dodd and Helenurm 2000, 2002)

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research