Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This introduced annual plant is about 2-3' tall. It often produces 2 or 3 forking stems that are themselves little branched. These stems are round and pubescent, although with age they often become glabrous. The alternate leaves are sessile, palmately divided, and up to 3" long and across. Their lobes repeatedly subdivide into smaller lobes that are narrowly linear, providing the leaves with a lacy appearance. They are slightly pubescent and often have a silky appearance. The stems terminate into spike-like racemes of blue-violet flowers. These racemes can be up to 1' in length. Each flower is about 2" across, consisting of 5 petal-like sepals, 4 petals, a single pistil, and some stamens with light blue anthers. The upper sepal forms a hood in front and an upward-curving spur in back about 1" long. The middle and lower sepals are well-rounded and spreading. The 2 upper petals form a protective inner hood of the reproductive organs; they are not fused together. The 2 lower petals form a V-shaped landing pad for visiting insects. The outer sepals are larger in size than the inner petals. At the base of each flower is a slender pedicel about 1" long. The blooming period occurs during the summer and lasts about 1-2 months. Each flower is replaced by a pubescent follicle containing numerous small black seeds. These seeds are small enough to be dispersed by gusts of wind. The root system is a slender branching taproot. This plant spreads by reseeding itself, and may form colonies at favorable sites, although it usually doesn't persist.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Rocket Larkspur is an occasional plant that has been reported from scattered counties in Illinois, except in the NW area of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats consist of areas along railroads and roadsides, banks of drainage ditches, abandoned fields, vacant lots, and flower gardens. There is a strong preference for disturbed areas; it does not appear to invade higher quality natural habitats to any significant extent, at least in Illinois. Rocket Larkspur originates from the Mediterranean area of Europe; it was introduced into the United States as an ornamental plant.
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Distribution in Egypt

Mediterranean region.

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Global Distribution

Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt.

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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Delphinium ambiguum L.:
Mauritania (Africa & Madagascar)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Consolida ajacis (L.) Schur:
Costa Rica (Mesoamerica)
El Salvador (Mesoamerica)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)
Honduras (Mesoamerica)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Delphinium ajacis L.:
Canada (North America)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)
Honduras (Mesoamerica)
Mexico (Mesoamerica)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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introduced; B.C., Man., Ont.; Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., N.C., N.Dak., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.; native to Europe and Africa; introduced in Asia and Australia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Stems 3-8(-10) dm, glabrous to sparsely puberulent. Leaves 5-20 or more. Leaf blade orbiculate, 12-60-lobed or more, 1-5 cm wide, glabrous to puberulent, lobes less than 1.5 mm wide. Inflorescences 6-30(-75)-flowered, simple or with 3 or fewer branches; bracts (at least lowermost 2) with 5 or more lobes; pedicel ascending-spreading, 1-3(-5) cm, ± puberulent; bracteoles not touching sepals, 4-20mm from flower, ± linear, 1-3mm, ± puberulent. Flowers: sepals blue to purple, rarely pink or white, nearly glabrous, lower sepal 8-18 × 4-8mm, lateral sepals 8-18 × 6-14 mm, spur 12-20 mm; petals of same color as sepals or whiter, lateral lobes 3-6mm, terminal lobes 5-8 × 2-4 mm, sinus 0.2-1 mm. Follicles 12-25 mm, puberulent.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Delphinium ajacis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 531. 1753
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Rocket Larkspur is an occasional plant that has been reported from scattered counties in Illinois, except in the NW area of the state (see Distribution Map). Habitats consist of areas along railroads and roadsides, banks of drainage ditches, abandoned fields, vacant lots, and flower gardens. There is a strong preference for disturbed areas; it does not appear to invade higher quality natural habitats to any significant extent, at least in Illinois. Rocket Larkspur originates from the Mediterranean area of Europe; it was introduced into the United States as an ornamental plant.
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Coastal sandy soil.

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Waste places, old homesites, drainage ditches, roadsides, and railroads; 0-2000m.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

Long-tongued bees pollinate the flowers, especially bumblebees. Butterflies may visit the flowers occasionally, but they are unlikely to be effective at pollination. Because of the presence of an alkaloid, delphinine, both the foliage and small seeds are quite toxic. Therefore, they are of little value as a food source to birds and mammals. Like the closely related Delphinium spp. (Delphiniums), the Larkspurs occasionally poison livestock.
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Foodplant / pathogen
Cucumber Mosaic virus infects and damages live, stunted, flowerless plant of Consolida ajacis

Foodplant / parasite
Erysiphe aquilegiae var. ranunculi parasitises Consolida ajacis

Foodplant / open feeder
caterpillar of Polychrysia moneta grazes on live leaf of Consolida ajacis
Remarks: season: summer

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering summer.
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Life Expectancy

Annual.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Consolida ajacis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Consolida ajacis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Reasons: Introduced from the Mediterranean.

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sunlight, moist to mesic conditions, and a loamy fertile soil. This plant develops quickly, shooting up like a rocket, hence the common name. However, in poor soil and droughty conditions, growth will be stunted.
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Wikipedia

Consolida ajacis

Follicles and seeds - MHNT

Consolida ajacis (syn. Consolida ambigua, Delphinium ajacis, Delphinium ambiguum, doubtful knight's spur, rocket larkspur) is an annual flowering plant of the family Ranunculaceae native to Eurasia. It is widespread in other areas, including much of North America, where it was an introduced species. It is frequently grown in gardens as an ornamental for its spikes of blue, pink or white flowers. It may reach a meter in height. Since the aerial parts and seeds of C. ajacis have been found to contain diterpenoid alkaloids (see below), including the highly toxic methyllycaconitine, the plants should be considered as poisonous.

Chemical Constituents[edit]

The first alkaloid to be isolated from C. ajacis seeds was ajaconine, reported by Keller and Volker in 1914.[1] Since that time, over thirty other structurally related diterpenoid alkaloids have been reported; these are:[2]

14-acetylbrowniine

14-acetyldelcosine

14-acetyldelectine

13-O-acetylvakhmatine

ajabicine

ajacine

ajacusine

ajadelphine

ajadelphinine

ajadine

ajadinine

ajanine

ambiguine

anthranoyllycoctonine

browniine

14-deacetylajadine

14-deacetylambiguine

delajacine

delajacirine

delajadine

delcosine

delectine

delphatine

delpheline

delphisine

delsoline

deltaline

deltatsine

dihydroajaconine

gigactonine

lycoctonine

18-methoxygadesine

methyllycaconitine

19-oxoanthranoyllycoctonine

19-oxodelphatine

takaosamine

vakhmatine

References[edit]

  1. ^ O. Keller and O. Volker (1914) Arch. Pharm. 251 207-216.
  2. ^ V. Venkateswarlu, S. K. Srivastava, B. S. Joshi, H. K. Desai and S. W. Pelletier (1995) J. Nat. Prod. 58 1527-1532.
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Notes

Comments

In many floras the names Consolida ambigua (Linnaeus) Ball & Heywood and Delphinium ambiguum Linnaeus have been misapplied to this taxon. 

 Consolida ajacis has escaped and become more or less naturalized in many temperate and subtropical parts of the world. It is by far the most commonly encountered species of Consolida in North America.

The Cherokee used Consolida ajacis medicinally in infusions to treat heart problems (D. E. Moerman 1986, as Delphinium ajacis ).

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: The name Consolida ambigua (Delphinium ambiguum) is also commonly used for this plant. Kartesz (1994 checklist) uses the name Consolida ajacis for it; it is also sometimes called Delphinium ajacis. Regardless of the name, the species is exotic in North America.

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