Stems (15-)30-50(-60) cm; base sometimes reddish, pubescent. Leaves mostly on proximal 1/4 of stem at anthesis; basal leaves 0-10 at anthesis; cauline leaves 3-10 at anthesis; petiole 0.5-8(-14) cm. Leaf blade reniform to fan-shaped, 1.5-3 × 2.5-4 cm, puberulent; ultimate lobes 5-24, width 2-6 mm (basal), 1-3 mm (cauline). Inflorescences 15-30(-49)-flowered; pedicel 1-2(-3.6) cm, puberulent; bracteoles 1-5 mm from flowers, green, linear, 1-4(-12) mm, puberulent. Flowers: sepals white to lavender, nearly glabrous, lateral sepals usually reflexed, (6-)8-13 × 3-7 mm, spur straight, ascending 30-80° above horizontal, (8-)13-20(-25) mm; lower petal blades ± elevated, 6-9 mm, cleft 2.5-4.5 mm; hairs centered, densest near base of cleft, white. Fruits (10-)11-20(-24) mm, 3-3.5 times longer than wide, glabrous. Seeds: seed coat cells with surfaces pustulate. 2 n = 16.
Flowering spring. Oak woods, grasslands, desert scrub; 700-1800 m; Ariz., Colo., N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila).
Delphinium wootonii hybridizes with D . madrense in the eastern Big Bend area of Texas, and with D . carolinianum subsp. virescens .
FNA 1997, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Stout perennial herb, 30-50 cm tall, from a reddish base; stems erect, pubescent. Leaves: Mostly basal, on petioles up to 8 cm long; also a few leaves alternate along the stem; blades 3-5 cm wide, reniform to fan-shaped and deeply palmately lobed, the primary segments numerous and closely pinnatifid, and the ultimate segments obtuse; surfaces covered with short curling hairs. Flowers: Lavender to light blue, showy, and irregular, arranged in an erect terminal raceme with ascending pedicels; sepals 5, irregular and petal-like, white to lavender, nearly glabrous, the lateral sepals usually reflexed, 8-13 mm by 3-7 mm, and the upper sepal extending into an ascending spur, 13-20 mm long; petals 4, the upper 2 enclosed in the spur, and the lower 2 petals notched and white-pilose. Fruits: Follicles 11-20 mm long, puberulent; containing many seeds. Ecology: Found in oak woodlands, grasslands and among desert scrub; 2,500-6,000 ft (762-1829 m); flowers May-June. Distribution: s AZ, NM, s CO, w TX; south to n MEX. Notes: Delphinium species are perennial herbs which arise in the spring and bolt single, erect, unbranched, sparsely-leaved to leafless stems from basal, palmately-lobed leaves and have spikes of showy flowers with long nectar spurs from the backsides. Among our Delphinium this species is distinguished by being shorter (<50 cm), with fine, curly hairs on stems; thinly-divided leaves; and white-lavender flowers with dense, white hairs on lower petals. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Delphinium is from delphium, the Greek word for dolphin, alluding to the unusual flower structure; wootonii honors New Mexico-based botanist Elmer Otis Wooton (1865-1945). Synonyms: Delphinium geyeri var. wootonii, D. virescens var. wootonii, D. virescens subsp. wootonii Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017