Delphinium Story & Origins
Delphinium gets its name from the Greek word “delphis,” which means dolphin. This refers to the shape of its closed flower buds, which resembles the nose of a dolphin. There are over 300 species of delphiniums which belong to the Ranunculaceae family, which are all native to the Northern Hemisphere. Delphiniums are also known as larkspurs, which is an annual species of delphinium.
According to Greek mythology the delphinium originated from the blood of the Greek god Aias (also known as Ajax), a Trojan war hero who was killed during combat. As the flowers blossomed from his blood, its petals became inscribed with the letters “Ai” which means alas in Greek.
Delphinium meanings include openness to new experiences and overall positivity. These beautiful blue flowers evoke feelings of joy, warmth and fun. Delphiniums are the perfect flower to gift someone who may be feeling down on life, and to encourage them to broaden their horizons in order to try out new experiences.
Delphinium Symbolism & Colors
Delphiniums symbolize cheerfulness and goodwill, as well as a protective plant. Delphiniums are used to communicate encouragement and joy, as well as remembering loved ones who have passed. Delphiniums are also the official birth flower for July.
There are four main colors of delphiniums which each symbolize a different meaning:
- Blue delphiniums symbolize dignity and are the most common color.
- White, pink and light blue delphiniums symbolize youth and renewal.
Delphinium Cultural Significance
In modern pop culture the delphinium is tied to Edward Steichan, who was the chief photographer for Condé Nast productions, which includes some of the top magazines in the world such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. Steichan was extremely passionate about delphiniums and was an active breeder who eventually became the President of the Delphinium Society of America.
- Most of the delphiniums that exist today are not wild, and are the result of hybridization since the 19th century.
- The name delphinium is used interchangeably with “larkspur” which was named by the Tudors for the shape of its nectary which looks like a lark’s claw.
- The most well-known species of delphiniums are the California Larkspur, Royal Larkspur, and Tall Larkspur.
- Delphiniums are one of the most popular summer flowers.
- Delphiniums are the perfect flower to give someone with a July birthday.
- Delphiniums were once used by both Native Americans and Europeans as a common dye due to its widespread availability.
- Delphiniums are known to repel parasites such as lice and can cure scorpion stings.
- Although once used as a medicine to help with relaxation and sleep, the delphinium is no longer used for internal use due to its toxins which cause difficulty breathing, slow heart rate, and severely lowered blood pressure.