Hidden connections: Delphinium nuttallianum

delphinium_nuttallianum_0609webDelphinium nuttallianum, also known as upland larkspur, is a gorgeous perennial found in grasslands and meadows east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in BC.

It’s one of the earlier flowering species in the subalpine, and as such is an important nectar source for pollinators such as long-tongued queen bumblebees and hummingbirds — that often migrate along mountain corridors.

But researchers are concerned that global warming is affecting when larkspur is flowering. One Colorado-based study found that where hummingbirds used to arrive before larkspur flowered in order to establish territories, they now arrive after larkspur has begun flowering.

Other studies have found that warming has a negative effect on Delphinium nuttallianum flower production, reducing both the abundance of flowering plants and the total number of flowers per plant.

It would be a shame to lose this beautiful plant – not only for itself, but for all the creatures that depend upon it.

It’s a good reminder for each of us to do what we can on an individual basis to fight climate change.

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