Rocket Larkspur from Ross & Rene in SC

Howdy Steve:

Here is something we could not identify and we want to share it.

Context: There is a small clump of this flower blooming in early May in upland pasture on our land just west of Six Mile, Pickens County. Most stems bear bright blue/purple flowers, but there was one stem a pale pink, almost white, and another that looked somewhat pale purple.

Detail 1: There are five large petals arrayed with one petal at the top. The top petal appears to wrap around a nectar trumpet whose opening is constricted at the sides, with complicated color pattern on the opening. (The camera did not catch the color pattern)

Detail 2: The blossoms alternate up the stem.

Detail 3: At first glance, it appears that there are multiple leaves, whorled. The lobes of the leaves are extremely narrow, somewhat like fennel or dill. Looking more closely, we see that the leaves grow one to a node, but they divide intro three right at the axil and divide repeatedly so that side lobes are arrayed around the stem.

More photos available.

Ross & Renee Wagenseil

Hi Ross and Renee,

long time no see!  I guess we will practically be neighbors once I retire down there.

Your plant is a type of larkspur, the rocket larkspur – the scientific name is Consolida ajacis.  It is a commonly grown ornamental species native to the Old World, and it occasionally escapes from gardens.  It can be found in wildflower mixes and possibly even in grass seed at times as a contaminant.

There is more information here:

I hope this helps!


Steve Hill  – South Carolina Native Plant Society [SCNPS]

Dr. Steven R. Hill
University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois


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