CPC Plant Profile: White-rock Larkspur
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Plant Profile

White-rock Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum)

Flower Photo Credit: Kris Frietag
Description
  • Global Rank: T2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • State: OR, WA
  • Nature Serve ID: 143073
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Delphinium is a large, circumboreal genus of herbaceous perennial taxa many of which are widely distributed. The vast majority of species have blue, bumblebee pollinated flowers. Ken Chambers, a dean of Oregon botany, noted a surprising coincidence in there being three rare larkspurs in the Willamette Valley of Oregon: Delphinium oreganum, D. pavonaceum (also a CPC NC species), and D. leucophaeum. He hypothesized that their origins might be connected with global climate change. Not in so many words, and not referring to the current one, but that of the end of the Ice Age, which saw a series of truly massive floods that inundated the Willamette Valley between 15,000 and 12,800 years ago. They are a fascinating tale in and of themselves (Google Missoula Floods), but thats another story. Suffice it to say they were large enough to bring large granite boulders all the way from Montana to Oregon, leaving in their wake lots of newly denuded land. Delphinium leucophaeum is endemic to the northern end of the Willamette Valley, in and around Portland, OR, with one population known from just across the Columbia River, in Washington. D, oreganum and D. pavonaceum are found a bit further south mostly east and west of the Willamette River, respectively. Both the common and scientific names of pale larkspur, Delphinium leucophaeum refer to the flower color, which is a brilliant white except for the tips of the two upper, nectariferous petals in the center of the flower, which are blue.

Participating Institutions
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Updates
  • 09/08/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank has over 50,000 seeds in 180 separate accessions from possibly as many as 16 sites covering both Oregon and Washington. Currently the vast majority of stored seed comes from just two of roughly 15 - 16 sites sampled.

  • 09/08/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank has over 50,000 seeds in 180 separate accessions from possibly as many as 16 sites covering both Oregon and Washington. Currently the vast majority of stored seed comes from just two of roughly 15 - 16 sites sampled.

  • 09/08/2020
  • Reintroduction

The Berry Botanic Garden (now RSBSB&PCP) has conducted germination and propagation studies, and in the early phases of a combined translocation / reintroduction project.

  • 09/08/2020
  • Propagation Research

The Berry Botanic Garden (now RSBSB&PCP) has conducted germination and propagation studies, and in the early phases of a combined translocation / reintroduction project.

  • 09/08/2020
  • Genetic Research

The most active research in recent years has been conducted by Dr. Keith Karoly of Reed College, and his Senior Thesis students. Their primary focus is on using genetic tools to examine questions of phylogeny, and the genetic bases of various ecological and evolutionary phenomena.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known from the northern Willamette Valley in Oregon and from a single site in neighboring Washington. Thought to be much more abundant and more widespread formerly, but the loss of almost all of this species' native habitat (oak woodlands) to agriculture and settlement has reduced it to fewer than 20 isolated, remnant occurrences. These are threatened by continued development, herbicide use in agriculture, road maintenance, and invasive weeds.

Greene
  • 01/01/2010

Habitat destruction due to urban development and agricultural development. Invasive species Roadside maintenance Small population sizes Hybridization with congeners threaten genetic integrity.

Greene
  • 01/01/2010

Twenty four element occurrences are known, 23 of which are in Oregon, and one in adjacent Washington. Currently, four of the Oregon populations are known only from herbarium specimens dating from the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The mean population size is ca. 677 individuals, median population size is 27 individuals, and only four exceed the mean value, ranging in size from 1000 to 5,000. Eight have fewer than 100 individuals.

Greene
  • 01/01/2010

The most active research in recent years has been conducted by Dr. Keith Karoly of Reed College, and his Senior Thesis students. Their primary focus is on using genetic tools to examine questions of phylogeny, and the genetic bases of various ecological and evolutionary phenomena. The Berry Botanic Garden (now RSBSB&PCP) has conducted germination and propagation studies, and in the early phases of a combined translocation / reintroduction project.

Greene
  • 01/01/2010

Beyond any protection afforded by federal recognition as a species of concern, and that it is listed endangered by both Oregon and Washington, it appears that as few as three populations are on public land. The Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank has over 50,000 seeds in 180 separate accessions from possibly as many as 16 sites covering both Oregon and Washington.

Greene
  • 01/01/2010

Maintain habitat, remove encroaching woody vegetation. Better protect roadside populations from mechanical damage and exposure to herbicides.

Greene
  • 01/01/2010

To spread seed collection more evenly over sampled populations. Currently the vast majority of stored seed comes from just two of roughly 15 - 16 sites sampled.

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Nomenclature
Taxon Delphinium nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum
Authority (Nutt.) M.J. Warnock
Family Ranunculaceae
CPC Number 1381
ITIS 525140
USDA DENUO
Common Names pale larkspur | White-rock Larkspur | upland larkspur
Associated Scientific Names Delphinium leucophaeum | Delphinium nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum | Delphinium willametense | Delphinastrum leucophaeum | Delphinium nuttallianum
Distribution Mostly in northern Willamette Valley of Oregon, with one population in adjacent southwestern Washington.
State Rank
State State Rank
Oregon S2
Washington S1
Habitat

Upland prairies often on shallow soil, and rocky basaltic cliffs along the lower Willamette River watershed.

Ecological Relationships

Not Available

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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