Delphinium exaltatum - Ait.
Tall Larkspur
Other Common Names: tall larkspur
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Delphinium exaltatum Ait. (TSN 18553)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.152324
Element Code: PDRAN0B0J0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Buttercup Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Ranunculales Ranunculaceae Delphinium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Delphinium exaltatum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Mar2018
Global Status Last Changed: 05Nov1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Delphinium exaltatum occurs in in the central and eastern United States. It is known from 72 recently surveyed occurrences but there could be 100 or more occurrences confirmed with site revisits. Many sites have a large number of plants. There are a large number of historic occurrences that should be surveyed to confirm the species is still extant at those sites. Threats to this species are primarily related to the loss of its habitat due to agricultural practices, development practices, and succession of vegetation due to changes in natural ecological processes. There have been significant declines long term
Nation: United States
National Status: N3

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Maryland (S1), Missouri (S2), North Carolina (S2), Ohio (S3), Pennsylvania (S1), Tennessee (S2), Virginia (S3), West Virginia (S2)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Delphinium exaltatum is distributed within the central and eastern United States. The species ranges from Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania to Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and occurs in Tennessee and Missouri. The species is reported to be non-native in the Northeastern United States (Haines 2011).

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: There are 72 occurrences that have been surveyed since 1998. Review of occurrences surveyed between 1990 and 1998 reveal that most could be intact based on aerial photos. Those occurrences bring the total number of occurrences closer to 100. There could be more potentially historic but extant occurrences but all occurrences over twenty years old should be surveyed to confirm the plants are present.

Population Size Comments: Many occurrences with thousands or hundreds of plants.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Some (13-40)

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats to Delphinium exaltatum are primarily related to the loss of its habitat due to agricultural practices and other types of development (e.g., housing construction) (Pyne pers. comm. 1994). Any minor habitat disturbance can potentially destroy small populations (PNDI-W 1993, Maryland Natural Heritage Program 1992a). A primary threat to D. exaltatum is loss of habitat due to succession of vegetation in the absence of a natural fire regime (Pyne pers.comm. 1994). Encroachment of trees and shrubs (e.g., Juniperus virginiana) into occupied habitat has likely resulted in the loss of many individuals and populations over time. Encroachment of exotic species (such as Lonicera spp.) into occupied habitat can degrade populations through direct competition for sunlight and other resources (Ludwig pers.comm. 1993, North Carolina Natural Heritage 1993). Grazing of woodlands by livestock is a potential threat to sites (Ludwig pers.comm. 1993). Larkspurs are poisonous to livestock, so they are usually not grazed. However, compaction of soil and physical disturbance to populations and their habitat by grazing livestock remains a threat (Isaac 1991a, Pyne 1992). Other threats include road widening and construction, inappropriate maintenance of corridors for roads, powerlines and sewerlines, expansion of quarries, and logging (Ludwig pers.comm. 1993, North Carolina Natural Heritage 1993, PNDI-W 1993, Weakley pers.comm. 1993, Cusick pers. comm. 1992, Rock pers. comm. 1992). The substitution or change of the clearing regime used for artificially maintaining habitat is a potential threat. The time of year that maintenance would be undertaken could change and may be detrimental to the species due to interference with flower set, seed ripening, some other ecological parameter or symbiotic relationship (Ludwig pers. comm. 1993). Inappropriate recreational use of sites (e.g., all-terrain vehicle use) can be a significant threat to extant populations of D. exaltatum (PNDI-W 1993, Isaac 1991b). Removal of talus or rock from the base of slopes for railroad yards and other projects can accelerate erosion and lead to major slides which can eliminate all vegetation from the slope (PNDI-W 1993, Wiegman pers. comm. 1993, Isaac 1991c). Often debris from slopes is being used by local road maintenance crews for fill on minor projects. This practice is very difficult to control (Weigman 1993). Spraying for insect pests (particularly for gypsy moth) on adjacent woodlands is a potential threat (PNDI-W 1993, Wiegman pers. comm. 1993). Spray can drift onto occupied habitat and threaten or destroy insect pollinators for the species.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: The current trends of Delphinium exaltatum are not well-known but visual inspection of maps revealed that a number of historic sites are likely extirpated or highly threatened by development. There are

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: The bulk of population loss occurred in the first 100 years after Euro-American settlement, additional populations have likely been lost in recent years to habitat succession, grazing impacts, and other actions. It is unknown whether population establishment has offset these losses.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Delphinium exaltatum is distributed within the central and eastern United States. The species ranges from Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania to Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and occurs in Tennessee and Missouri. The species is reported to be non-native in the Northeastern United States (Haines 2011).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States MD, MO, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MD Allegany (24001), Washington (24043)
MO Howell (29091), Shannon (29203)
NC Alleghany (37005), Ashe (37009), Avery (37011), Cabarrus (37025)*, Caswell (37033), Durham (37063), Granville (37077)*, Haywood (37087), Jackson (37099), McDowell (37111), Mecklenburg (37119)*, Person (37145), Union (37179)*, Watauga (37189)
OH Adams (39001), Belmont (39013), Clark (39023), Franklin (39049), Hocking (39073)*, Logan (39091), Pickaway (39129), Ross (39141)*
PA Allegheny (42003)*, Beaver (42007)*, Bedford (42009), Butler (42019)*, Fayette (42051), Huntingdon (42061), Washington (42125), Westmoreland (42129)
TN Anderson (47001), Hamilton (47065)*, Knox (47093), Roane (47145)
WV Grant (54023), Greenbrier (54025), Hampshire (54027)*, Hardy (54031), Mercer (54055), Mineral (54057), Monroe (54063), Pendleton (54071)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 Upper Juniata (02050302)+, Raystown (02050303)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+, Cacapon-Town (02070003)+*, Conococheague-Opequon (02070004)+
03 Lower Dan (03010104)+, Upper Tar (03020101)+, Upper Neuse (03020201)+, Rocky, North Carolina, (03040105)+*, Upper Catawba (03050101)+, Lower Catawba (03050103)+*
05 Lower Allegheny (05010009)+*, Lower Monongahela (05020005)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Upper Ohio (05030101)+*, Connoquenessing (05030105)+*, Upper Ohio-Wheeling (05030106)+, Upper New (05050001)+, Middle New (05050002)+, Greenbrier (05050003)+, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Upper Great Miami (05080001)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Lower Clinch (06010207)+, Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga (06020001)+*
11 North Fork White (11010006)+*, Current (11010008)+, Spring (11010010)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Herbaceous perennial to 2dm; stems slender and glabrous below the inflorescence; leaves wedge-shaped, pale beneath, deeply 3-5 cleft; flowers purple, pale blue, or lavender, pedicels 1-2.5cm long, with a spur, bottom petal not divided.
Technical Description: Delphinium exaltatum is an herbaceous perennial, 2-6 feet high when flowering, with a slender stem which is without hairs except at the summit. The leaves are numerous, extending to the summit, deeply cleft, with 3-5 wedge-shaped divisions. The flowers are in loose wand-like racemes, sometimes branched at the base. They are bilateral, having 5 petal-like sepals arising from the calyx-tube, which encloses 4 irregular petals. The calyx-tube has a straight spur at the base; the calyx and corolla are usually purple-blue or pale blue to white (perhaps strcaudex, erect, 1.0-1.5 m tall, terete to somewhat sulcate, slender but firm, the lowest internodes shortest, usually purplish tinted, smooth, gradually lengthening toward the mid-stem, longer than the shortening petioles and blades; stem surfaces above base greenish or stramineous, smooth to the level of the inflorescence, there increasingly crisped-incurved-puberulent toward the apex. Lowest leaves gone by anthesis, the lowest green ones on terete, slender, glabrous to sparingly hirsute petioles longer than the blades, the blades in outline suborbicular to semi-circular, usually truncate-based, deeply and palmately divided into 3 (-5) oblanceolate to elliptic-linear or lanceolate primary segments, the sinuses narrowly acute to narrowly rounded, the segment bases broadly to narrowly cuneate, the secondary segments from 1-several, the lowest oblong-linear, salient to ascending, the shorter narrowly triangular, all segment tips narrowly acute to acuminate, somewhat thickened but still flattish, lacking mucrones; leaf surfaces deep green above, paler beneath, sparingly incurved pubescent along the margins and the several parallel veins above, more generally appressed pubescent beneath. Leaves grading gradually upward into the inflorescence, this usually a compound of slender, elongate racemes of numerous flowers, the basal well separated, the ones at anthesis or in bud approximate, the pedicels slender, ascending at an angle of about 45 (degrees) or less, crisped-tomentulose, each subtended by a linear, acuminate, incurved-puberulent bract together with a distal pair of short-linear or oblong, puberulent or tomentulose bracteoles. Sepals pale dull blue or blue-violet, this lined with yellow-orange or yellow-white. Spur sepal ca. 2 cm long, the spur 1 cm long, the blade broadly ovate, short-acuminate or mucronate apically, with a subapical shallow pocket, marginally ciliolate, the back crisped-puberulent. Other sepals broadly oblong to obovate, ca. 9 mm long, the upper pair somewhat broader, apically rounded or with a low mucrone, each with a subapical pouch, the margins erose and ciliolate, the back medially puberulous in a broad zone, the inner (upper) surfaces smooth. Spur petals slightly longer than the spur sepal, the closed (tubular) part of the spur ca. 5 mm long, the attachment point ca. 10 mm from the spur tip, the limb apex asymmetrically ovate, blue, sparingly trichomiferous apically bifid into 2 unequal, narrowly triangular lobes. Claw petals 1.0-1.2 cm long, blue, the claw ca. 5 mm long, bearing a pair of longitudinally oriented, low calluses on either side of the mid-nerve at the claw junction, deeply split by a narrowly acute sinus, the loves unequal, narrowly acute, the margins erose and long-ciliate; upper (inner) surface of blade strongly villous. Stamens ca. 5 mm long, the anthers ca. 1 mm long, ellipsoidal, the locules sparingly short hairy, the filament margins sparsely ciliate. Carpels ca. 5 mm long, the ovaries ca. 2.5 mm long, narrowly lance-ovoid, sericeous. Mature follicles erect, diverging only apically, short-oblong, ca. 9 mm long, incurved-puberulent, the persistent glabrous style ca. 2 mm long, excurved. Seeds asymmetrically cuneate, truncate, alately 3-angled, 2.0-2.2 mm long, buff or pale brown." (Kral 1976).
Diagnostic Characteristics: Delphinium exaltatum has a deep, heavy taproot when compared to other eastern Delphinium species. Its smallish flowers are also less attractive, being a dull shade of blue. It tends to be more branched, the main axis putting forth several upwardly arching lateral shoots (Kral 1976).

Delphinium exaltatum can be confused with D. ambiguum. Delphinium ambiguum may be distinguished from D. exaltatum by its shorter stature (3-7 dm) and leaves that are divided into narrow linear segments 2-4 cm wide. Delphinium exaltatum is up to 2 m tall, with leaves divided into broad cuneate or cuneate-lanceolate segments (Fernald 1970).

Delphinium tricorne can be distinguished from D. exaltatum by the following characters: non-bifid lower petals, tuberous roots, smooth seeds (or nearly so) and divergent follicles. Delphinium exaltatum posses the following traits: bifid lower petals, non-tuberous roots (a woody taproot or branched caudex), wrinkled seeds and erect follicles (Isaac 1991a).

The foliage of D. exaltatum could be confused with that of Geranium species. The leaves of Delphinium are larger, more deeply divided and have fewer segments (3-5) than Geranium (5-7). In addition, the ends of the leaflets differ; Geranium having toothed segments, while those of Delphinium are smooth (Pyne 1992).

Duration: PERENNIAL, DECIDUOUS
Reproduction Comments: Self imcompatible
Ecology Comments: Delphinium exaltatum reproduces sexually, has perfect flowers and is predominantly outcrossing and monoecious. It flowers between July and September. Flowers are pollinated by insects; dispersal is by wind. It is also somewhat shade tolerant (Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Isaac 1991a, Fernald 1970).

The phenology of D. exaltatum according to Pyne (1992), is as follows: From mid-November to the beginning of April, the species is dormant. From April to July it is in a vegetative state. Flowering occurs from July to mid-August (September), with fruiting occurring from mid-August to mid-September.

Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest/Woodland
Habitat Comments: Natural habitats occupied by D. exaltatum include rich woods (and edges of woods), rocky slopes, semi-open woodlands, glades and prairie openings. The species is tolerant of a limited amount of disturbance and is also periodically found along disturbed road cuts, roadside ditches, old fields, powerline corridors and wooded fence rows. The substrate of occupied habitat is typically dry and rocky, consisting of limestone or other calcareous rock. The species occurs on a variety of slope exposures (south-, southwest-, west-, north-and northwest-facing). Exposures may be steep, receiving full sun or partial shade (Nelson pers. comm. 1993, Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory-West 1993, Wiegman pers. comm. 1993, Cusick pers. comm. 1992, Kunsman pers. comm. 1992, Ludwig 1992, Ludwig 1993, Maryland Natural Heritage Program 1992, Ohio Natural Heritage Program 1992, Rock pers. comm. 1992, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 1992, Tennessee Valley Authority Regional Heritage Program 1992, Isaac 1991a, Roedner et al. 1978, Holt et al. 1974, Steyermark 1963, Small 1933).

The habitat in Maryland consists of xeric, calcareous, semi-open deciduous woodlands and steep, dry limestone woods (Maryland Natural Heritage Program 1992). Populations have been located at elevations ranging from 129-390 m. Associated species include Eupatorium sessilifolium, Lithospermum spp., Ptelea spp., Rhus typhina and Silphium trifoliatum (Maryland Natural Heritage Program 1992b).

Habitat in Missouri consists of rich, steep, north- or west-facing slopes; dry, wooded slopes with small glade openings; dry woods with open canopy; wooded slopes over limestone or cherty limestone; oak woods with gasconade dolomite rock outcrop; rocky soil; limestone outcrops with chert; eroded slopes; dolomite bluffs; canopied forest of young trees with saplings and thickets; the bases of talus slopes at a stream's edge and low woods along creeks. Populations are located at elevations ranging from 210-324 m. Associated species include Cypripedium calceolus var. parviflorum, Juniperus virginiana, Quercus spp. and Waldsteinia fragarioides (Missouri Natural Heritage Inventory 1992, Smith 1992, Ladd 1993, Roedner et al. 1978, Holt et al. 1974, Steyermark 1963). Associated plant species reported from a west-facing slope included Agrimonia rostellata, Liatris squarosa, Polygala senega var. latifolia and Silphium gatesii. Associates at a north-facing slope included Asclepias quadrifolia, Dirca palustris, Gerardia flava var. macrantha, Panicum boscii, Solidago arguta, Trillium recurvatum, Veronicastrum virginicum f. villosum and Viburnum rafinesquianum var. affine (Steyermark 1963).

Four extant occurrences of D. exaltatum occur in North Carolina (North Carolina Natural Heritage Program 1993, Weakley pers. comm. 1993). Two occurrences are located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. One occupies a grassy bald over amphibolite rock at about 1500 m in elevation. Associated plant species at this site include Agrostis perennans, Dactylis glomerata, Danthonia compressa, Houstonia serpyllifolia, Lilium philadelphicum, Lysimachia ciliaris, Phleum pratense, Poa sp., Potentilla canadensis, P. tridentata, Prunella vulgaris, Senecio schwienitzianus, Solidago sp. and Trifolium spp.. The second occurrence in the Blue Ridge is found along a maintained roadside at about 1050 m. It occurs over amphibolite rock with the following associates: Arisaema sp., Aster chlorolepis, Betula lenta, Euphorbia purpurea, Isotria medeoloides, Panax quinquefolium, Quercus rubra, Robinia pseudoacacia and Tovara sp.. The remaining two sites occur in the Piedmont along powerline and sewerline right-of-ways at elevations of about 90-150 m. These sites are found over diabase rock, in formerly fire-maintained communities. Associated plant species include Cercis canadensis, Cirsium virginianum, Echinacea laevigata, Rhus aromatica and Viburnum rafinesquianum. Elevations of both extant and historic populations range from 90 to 1928 m (North Carolina Natural Heritage Program 1993, Weakley pers. comm. 1993).

In Ohio, this species is found on limestone or calcareous soil and on slopes (southwest-, east-, north-facing) which are often steep and above streams. Populations are found on open sites or in partial shade. Plants have been found in a variety of habitats, including woods (under mesic secondary growth hardwood and northern white cedar), woodland edges (including oak-juniper), old fields, powerline corridors, prairie openings and their edges, road cuts (often disturbed), roadside ditches, thickets and wooded fence rows. Associated plant species include Amelanchier spp., Andropogon spp., Cornus spp., Juniperus virginiana, Quercus sp., Thuja occidentalis, various prairie species and a number of disturbance-loving herbaceous species (Cusick 1992, Ohio Natural Heritage Program 1992).

The habitat in Pennsylvania consists of dry, well-drained, rocky limestone or calcareous slopes on south to southwest-facing slopes, usually in full sun or partial light (Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory - West 1993, Wiegman pers. comm. 1993, Kunsman pers. comm. 1992, Isaac 1991a). Associated plant species at one location on a steep, southwest-facing landslide scar and associated ridge thicket include Calystegia spithamea, Hybanthus concolor, Staphylea trifolia, Taenidia integerrima and Triosteum angustifolium (Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory - West 1993).

In Tennessee, habitat consists primarily of Ridge and Valley cedar barrens on thin cherty loam over limestone (dolomite). Other occupied sites include oak-cedar woods, mixed pine-cedar woodlands and disturbed areas (e.g., roadsides and pastures), mimicking barrens habitat. The elevation range of known locations is from 207-300 m. Associated plant species include Solidago ptarmicoides, Liatris cylindracea and Tomanthera auriculata. Other associates include Andropogon spp., Lespedeza cuneata, Aster laevis, A. pilosus, Helianthus hirsutus, H. occidentalis, Kuhnia eupatorioides, Solidago rigida, Penstemon laevigatus, Scutellaria incana, Isanthus brachiatus, Lithospermum canescens, Silphium terebinthinaceum, Echinacea purpurea, Hexalectris spicata, Pinus spp., Quercus spp. and Schizachyrium scoparium (Pyne pers. comm. 1994, Pyne 1992, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 1992, Tennessee Valley Authority Regional Heritage Program 1992). Juniperus virginiana is an active invader of this community type.

In Virginia, D. exaltatum occurs almost exclusively on dry calcareous (dolomite or limestone) soils, particularly around openings or in thin woodlands and open glades (Ludwig pers. comm. 1993, Ludwig 1992). It is also infrequently found on greenstone (a basalt with a pH of 6-7) within the state (Ludwig pers. comm. 1993). Kral (1976) found the species sporadically occurring in mixed-mesophytic forested ravines that cut into shales and limestone.

Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Larkspurs contain alkaloids that frequently poison grazing cattle.
Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Management of D. exaltatum habitat involves maintaining an open habitat through controlled burning and thinning or clearing of understory woody vegetation. Habitat should be protected from grazing, road construction, inappropriate corridor maintenance, damaging recreational activities, logging, erosion and agricultural conversion or other types of development. Monitoring should be used to determine which maintenance activities are most beneficial, as well as to evaluate the condition of extant populations. Inventories are needed to locate additional populations and to potentially relocate historic populations. Management should include protection of insect pollinators from pesticides. Research which addresses the ecology, reproductive biology and threats from exotic plant species is needed.
Restoration Potential: The restoration potential of D. exaltatum is apparently high. Steyermark (1963) apparently had success in propagating the species in the wild. Plants grown at a botanical preserve in northern Illinois from seed collected in southern Ohio grew well in a wooded location over a span of 10 years.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden has been successful in germinating and establishing D. exaltatum. Seeds apparently require cold stratification in order to germinate. At the Garden, this has been accomplished by placing seeds in a pot within a refrigerator for a period of time, or by sowing seeds in a seed frame outdoors over winter (Gardner pers. comm. 1994). Seeds seem to germinate reasonably well. As many as 50-60 individuals have been transplanted to Penny's Bend Nature Preserve in Durham County to augment an existing population there (Gardner pers. comm. 1994).

With sufficient habitat and management efforts restoration efforts should be successful.

Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Preserve designs should include sufficient habitat to sustain viable populations of D. exaltatum and those of known pollinators. Designs should also incorporate plans for prescribed burning and other management efforts, taking into account smoke hazards.
Management Requirements: Note: two conflicting opinions:

----(WEAKLEY): Many occurrences appear to be in habitats that undergo succession without fire or other natural disturbances; need research on suitable management for such habitats.

----(OSTLIE et al.): Delphinium exaltatum requires an open to moderately open habitat for long-term maintenance. Controlled burning apparently benefits populations by preventing encroachment and eliminating existing woody vegetation (Weakley 1993, Pyne 1992). In shaded habitats, plants often persist in a sterile state, but produce a flush of growth and flower production after burning (Cusick 1992).

Sites should be periodically burned, canopy thinned or underbrush cleared to maintain an open habitat (Ludwig 1993, Weakley 1993, Cusick 1992, Pyne 1992). Pre-season mowing to reduce competition has been shown to increase the size of populations along powerline corridors (Parr 1990).

Management should include protection of insect pollinators from pesticides (Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory-West 1993). In order to further protect insect populations, prescribed burn designs should split managed areas into a number of burn units, with no single unit possessing 100% of a given habitat type.

Monitoring Requirements: Populations should be monitored frequently (every few years, particularly in the larger populations) to determine the status of populations with respect to on-going management practices (Pyne pers. comm. 1994, Ludwig pers. comm. 1993). Assessments of the number of individuals present and recruitment success (through flower/fruit production or presence of juvenile cohorts) can help determine the appropriateness of these practices. In addition, an assessment of threats and habitat quality should be made.

Management Programs: The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program has held volunteer workdays to cut brush away from one population in the state (Weakley 1993).

Contact: Alan Weakley, Botanist, North Carolina Natural Heritage, Department of Environment, Health & Natural Resources, Division of State Parks & Recreation, Box 27687, Raleigh, NC 27611. Telephone: (919) 733-7701.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been conducting management of a population located along a powerline corridor. Mowing of the corridor was eliminated in 1985, following the bulldozing of a portion of the population. Mowing was initiated in 1989 (prior to the growing season) after 5 years of continual declines in the population. Results showed a 60% increase in 1989 over numbers observed in 1988.

Contact: Patricia Parr, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Telephone: (615) 576-8123.

Deer exclosures have been placed around portions of D. exaltatum populations at The Nature Conservancy's Fort Hill Preserve in western Maryland to determine the effects of deer browsing on the species. Recent surveys have indicated that as many as 50% of plants located outside the exclosure were browsed by deer (Samson 1994).

Contact: Doug Samson, Director of Science and Stewardship, The Nature Conservancy, Maryland Field Office, Chevy Chase Metro Bldg., 2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 600, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Telephone: (301) 656-8673.

Mowing and selective thinning of overstory trees/shrubs is conducted in early spring before leaf emergence to benefit D. exaltatum and other rare prairie plant species at Penny's Bend Nature Preserve in Durham County, NC (Gardner 1994). Spot mowing is also done 1-2 times during the summer.

Contact: Rob Gardner, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Totten Center CB3375, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-9522. Telephone: (919) 962-0522.

Monitoring Programs: Staff with the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program visit sites every 1-2 years to make subjective assessments on the health of populations (Weakley 1993).

Contact: Alan Weakley, Botanist/Asst. Coordinator, North Carolina Natural Heritage, Dept. of Environment, Health & Natural Resources, Div. State Parks & Recreation, Box 27687, Raleigh, NC 27611. Telephone: (919) 733-7701.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has continuously monitored a large population of D. exaltatum since 1985. One hundred permanent plots were established on the site; Numbers of adult and immature plants within each plot were recorded (Parr 1990). The population will continue to be monitored to determine appropriate management strategies for the species.

Contact: Patricia Parr, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Telephone: (615) 576- 8123.

A population located within The Nature Conservancy's Fort Hill Preserve in western Maryland has been monitored since 1991 using permanent plots (although the location of plots was changed in 1993) (Samson 1994).

Contact: Doug Samson, Dir. Science and Stewardship, The Nature Conservancy, Maryland Field Office, Chevy Chase Metro Bldg., 2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 600, Chevy Chase, MD 20815. Telephone: (301) 656-8673.

Management Research Programs: A long-term project designed to investigate seed dispersal, survival rates of seedlings, growth and maturation rates, seedbank germination, and effects of habitat disturbance and manipulation on D. exaltatum was initiated in 1985 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee (Parr 1987).

Contact: Patricia Parr, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Telephone: (615) 576- 8123.

The Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora has initiated a study to develop propagation methodologies for D. exaltatum. Seeds from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been used in this effort.

Contact: Richard M. Lighty, Mt. Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora, Box 3570, Barley Mill Road, Greenville, DE 19807-0507.

Maureen Cunningham of Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been working on the establishment of D. exaltatum for a barrens plant research garden.

Contact: Maureen Cunningham, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Telephone: (615) 576-8123.

The North Carolina Botanical Garden has been implementing a successful germination and population augmentation program for D. exaltatum in the state. Approximately 12-15 individuals are now growing at the botanical garden, although an additional 50-60 plants have been placed at Penny's Bend Nature Preserve in Durham County to enhance the population native to that site.

Contact: Rob Gardner, North Carolina Botanical Garden, Totten Center CB3375, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599- 9522. Telephone: (919) 962-0522.

Management Research Needs: Research is needed that deals with the ecology of the species, its population demographics and management practices that might benefit individuals or populations. In addition, an investigation into the threat from exotic plant species is needed.

Research is needed to determine the most optimal management practices for D. exaltatum, particularly the use of fire as a management tool (Pyne pers. comm. 1994). What is the response of D. exaltatum populations to the use of fire and other practices on populations?

Additional topics: Larkspurs (including those of the eastern United States) are poisonous to cattle. The entire plant is poisonous due to the presence of several toxic diterpenoid alkaloids. Poisoning usually occurs in the spring when the highest concentrations of alkaloids are found in the first flush of growth of the plants. For this reason, cattle should not be allowed to graze in heavily infested areas at this time of year. Concentrations of alkaloids decrease rapidly until flowering occurs, then decline in a slower fashion for the rest of the growing season. However, concentrations of alkaloids remain high in each stage of the plant's development in the new leaves, growing stem tips and seeds. One study found that sheep could tolerate four times more of one species of larkspur than cattle. Variations in the tolerance between individuals of the same animal species were also found (Pyne 1992, Isaac 1991a, Cronin and Nielsen 1981, Crawford et al. 1969).

Illustrations of D. exaltatum can be found in: Roedner et al. (1978), Kral (1976), Peterson and McKenny (1968), Steyermark (1963) and Gleason (1952).

Range distribution maps for D. exaltatum can be found in the following sources: Missouri (Steyermark 1963), Virginia (Harvill et al. 1986).
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Mar2018
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Weakley, A.S. (1992); Ostlie, W.R. (1994); S.L. Neid (1998), rev. Treher (2018)
Management Information Edition Date: 07Feb1994
Management Information Edition Author: AMBROSE, DONN M. OSTLIE, WAYNE R. PENSKAR, MICHAEL R. SCHUEN, DAVID WALTER
Management Information Acknowledgments: We are indebted to all the botanists, ecologists, information managers and others who took the time to provide the information necessary for the preparation of this and many other Element Stewardship Abstracts.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Feb1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Ambrose, D.M., W.R. Ostlie, M.R. Penskar, D.W. Schuen (1994); Isaac, J. (1991).

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • CONKLIN, A. 1993. REPORT OF 14-15 JUNE TRIP BY TNC STAFF TO FORT HILL PRESERVE.

  • Crawford, H.S., C.L. Kucera, and J.H. Ehrenreich. 1969. Ozark range and wildlife plants. U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook No. 356. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 236 pp.

  • Cronin, E.H., and D.B. Nielsen. 1981. Larkspurs and livestock on the rangelands of western North America. Down to Earth 37(3):11-16.

  • Crow, Garrett E., et al. 1981. Rare and Endangered Vascular Plant Species in New England. New England Botanical Club, Cambridge, Massachusetts. p. 259-299.

  • Deam, C. C. 1940. Flora of Indiana. Division of Forestry, Dept. of Conservation, Indianapolis, Indiana. 1236 pp.

  • Fernald, M. L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. Corrected printing (1970). D. Van Nostrand Company, New York. 1632 pp.

  • Fernald, M.L. 1949. Gray's Manual of Botany, Eighth edition. American Book Co. New York. B49FER01PAUS

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1997. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 3. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiii + 590 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. New Britton & Brown. Illustrated Flora. Lancaster Press Inc. Lancaster, Pa. B52GLE01PAUS

  • Gleason, H.A. 1952. The new Britton and Brown illustrated flora of the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. 3 volumes. Hafner Press, New York. 1732 pp.

  • Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Haines, A. 2011. Flora Novae Angliae: a manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 973 pp.

  • Harvill, A.M., Jr., T.R. Bradley, C.E. Stevens, T.F. Wieboldt, D.M.E. Ware, and D.W. Ogle. 1986. Atlas of the Virginia flora. Second edition. Virginia Botanical Associates, Farmville. 135 pp.

  • Henry, L.K. and Buker, W.E. 1958. The Ranunculaceae in Western Pennsylvania. Castanea 23:33-46. A58HEN01PAUS

  • Henry, L.K. and W.E. Buker. 1958. The Ranunculaceae in western Pennsylvania. Castanea 23(2):33-45.

  • Holt, Francis T., et al., eds. 1974. Rare and Endangered Species of Missouri. Missouri Dept. of Conservation and Soil Conservation Service, no city, state. Unpaginated.

  • Isaac, J. 1991a. Field survey for Delphinium exaltatum and Lithospermum latifolium near Wall, Allegheny County. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory - West. 6 pp.

  • Isaac, J. 1991b. Field survey for Delphinium exaltatum and Lithospermum latifolium near Elizabeth, Allegheny County. Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory - West. 6 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1993. Species distribution data for vascular plants of 70 geographical areas, from unpublished data files at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, July, 1993.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Keener, C.S. 1976. Studies in the Ranunculaceae of the southeastern United States. IV. Genera with zygomorphic flowers. Castanea 41:12-20.

  • Keener, C.S. 1976. Studies in the ranunculacea of the Southeastern United States IV Genera with Zygomorphic Flowers. Castanea 41:12-20. A76KEE01PAUS

  • Kral, R. 1976. A Treatment of Delphinium for Alabama and Tennessee. Sida 6:243-265. A76KRA01PAUS

  • Kral, R. 1976. A treatment of Delphinium for Alabama and Tennessee. Sida 6(4): 243-265.

  • McCance, R.M. and Burns, J.F. eds 1984. Ohio Endangered and Threatened Vascular Plants: Abstracts of State-Listed Taxa, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. Department of Natural Resources, Columbus, Ohio 635p. B84MCC01PAUS.

  • McCance, R.M., Jr., and J.F. Burns, eds. 1984. Ohio endangered and threatened vascular plants: Abstracts of state-listed taxa. Division Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Dept. Natural Resources, Columbus. 635 pp.

  • Parr, P.D. 1990. Habitat manipulation: The effect on a declining rare plant population. ASB Bull. 37(2): 85.

  • Parr, P.D. Factors in recovery of tall larkspur population under study (Tennessee). Rest. Manag. Notes 5(2): unknown pages.

  • Peterson, R. T., and M. McKenny. 1968. A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and Northcentral North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 393 pp. + plates.

  • Pyne, M. 1992. Guide to rare plants - Tennessee Division of Forestry District 3. Tennessee Dept. Agricluture, Division of Forestry, Nashville.

  • Roedner, B.J., D.A. Hamilton, and K.E. Evans. 1978. Rare plants of the Ozark Plateau: A field guide. U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN. 238 pp.

  • Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of the southeastern flora. Two volumes. Hafner Publishing Company, New York.

  • Steyermark, J.A. 1963. Flora of Missouri. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames. 1728 pp.

  • THE NATURE CONSERVANCY-MD FIELD OFFICE. 1994. BIOLOGICAL MONITORING-FORT HILL-DELPHINIUM EXALTATUM DATA SUMMARY 1991-1994.

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