Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Consolida ajacis - Rocket larkspur

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family) [E-flora]

"Consolida ambigua is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

"General: Annual herb from a slender taproot; stems erect, 30-80 cm tall, smooth to sparsely fine-hairy." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Mesic to dry roadsides in the lowland zone; rare garden escape on SE Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora]

Status: Exotic [E-flora]


"The whole plant is very poisonous and it should not be used internally without the guidance of an expert [207]." [PFAF]

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

"LARKSPUR (Consolida ambigua) A poisonous plant, with effects similar to those of Monkshood. ...It provides two pigments, delphinine for blue, and kaempferol for yellow (Schauenberg & Paris). The tincture of the seeds was used in cosmetic preparations, and also to treat asthma (Lindley). The seeds have also been used to destroy lice and nits in the hair (Grieve. 1931), a usage reported also in Alabama (R B Browne), hence a name given to the plant, Lousewort." [????]

"An easily grown plant, it prefers a sunny position in a well-drained soil. This species is called Consolida ajacis by some botanists[274]. Larkspur is a greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. Plants resent root disturbance and should not be transplanted[200]." [PFAF]

"Seed - sow in succession from spring to early summer in situ. Germinates in 2 - 3 weeks[200]. Seedlings transplant badly[200]. An autumn sowing can succeed in areas with mild winters[200]. The seed has a short viability and should not be stored for more than one season[200]." [PFAF]



Consolida Sp. - Larkspur

"Annual, generally from taproot. Stem: erect, generally 1, branched or not. Leaf: deeply palmately or palmate-pinnately lobed or dissected, cauline merging into bracts distally. Inflorescence: raceme, terminal; pedicels spreading to ascending. Flower: bilateral; sepals 5, petal-like, white to pink or blue [violet], uppermost spurred, others generally clawed; petals 2, fused, generally 1–3-lobed, arched over stamens, color same as sepals or white, base with spur enclosed in uppermost sepal spur; pistil 1. Fruit: follicle 1, erect. Seed: brown [black], minutely scaly in rows.
± 40 species: Mediterranean Europe, Africa, Asia. (Latin: consolidate, from reported healing of wounds) Segregate of Delphinium." [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Consolida ajacis - rocket larkspur [E-flora]

Usage of Related Sp

"Delphinium species contain complex diterpenoid alkaloids that cause acute intoxication and death in cattle (12). The alkaloids and their concentrations vary with the species and plant part involved, which causes variability in toxicity. In Delphinium consolida (larkspur) there are toxic alkaloids in the non-medicinal plant parts (root, seed, herb), but they are purportedly absent in the medicinal part (the flower)." [SEHM]

Consolida regalis - Forking larkspur


"No health risks or side effects reported from proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages (PH2). But the LD50 in rabbits, intravenously, is only 1.5–3 mg/kg (PH2). Commission E reports flower is not permitted for therapeutic use (KOM), while citing unapproved folk usage as diuretic, orexigenic, sedative, and vermifuge. The plant contains toxic alkaloids, but there are no reliable data on the alkaloid level in the flowers (AEH). Alkaloids are bradycardic, cardiodepressant, CNS-depressant, hypotensive, and respiradepressant. Seed and leaf of some species are dermatitigenic. Ajacine and delphinine occur in seed and young plants of many Delphinium spp. Ingestion of such species may upset nerves and stomach, death may occur if the plant is eaten in large quantities, especially by children. In Asia, where seeds reportedly poison cattle, seeds are still dangerously used as cathartics and emetics (CRC). The Herbal PDR, and I, often get too broad-brushed and talk generically, in the process condemning innocent species and occasionally praising undeserving species." [HMH Duke]

"I hope the nonbotanists who wrote Commission E and the Herbal PDR have figured out the larkspurs better than I have. Otherwise, they know not of which larkspur they speak. There are more than a dozen Consolidas and Delphiniums, many called larkspurs. And don’t forget the pediculicide stavesacre, D. staphisagria (the USDA did). After wasting a day with the nomenclatorial nuances, I feel I should treat three species or lump them all into one, larkspur, Consolida regalis (formerly Delphinium consolida), the slightly different rocket larkspur, Consolida ajacis, and finally the stavesacre, Delphinium staphasiagria, not covered by the USDA. All are poisonous and dangerous, and probably not reliably distinguished by nonbotanists. So it is, methinks, a bit presumptuous to believe the data in the literature were based on better speculations than mine." [HMH Duke]

Other Use

Medicinal Use

"Indications (Forking Larkspur) — Anorexia (f; KOM); Constipation (f; HHB); High Blood Pressure (f; KOM); Insomnia (f; KOM; PH2); Nervousness (f; KOM; PH2); Water Retention (f; HHB; KOM; PH2); Worm (f; HHB; KOM; PH2)." [HMH Duke]

"Activities (Forking Larkspur) — Aperitif (f; KOM); Bradycardic (f; KOM); Cardiodepressant (f; KOM); CNS-Depressant (f; KOM); Curare (f; KOM); Diuretic (f; HHB; KOM; PH2); Hypotensive (f; KOM); Laxative (f; HHB); Respiradepressant (f; KOM); Sedative (f; KOM; PH2); Vermifuge (f; HHB; KOM; PH2)." [HMH Duke]



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