April 4, 2019 By Moss Elvis In Garden Plants
Considering that there are few plants which have contributed more to the beauty of our gardens than delphiniums, there is very little information about the origins of hybrid forms. There are upward of two hundred species, some are perennial, others biennial, while the remainder including the popular larkspur are annual. The species grow wild in North America, Europe, Asia, North Africa, and one province of China – namely Szechwan. Though three species are listed as wild plants in the British Isles, all are considered to have been introduced, even the forking larkspur, Delphinium consolida.
Herbalists were well acquainted with the delphinium’s poisonous properties, the active principle delphinia was said to act on the nervous system. Delphinium seeds were used as a powerful purgative, as a cure for toothache, and, when mixed as a salve, to treat skin diseases. The main value of the powdered seed was its ability to destroy lice on both humans and animals, hence the popular name lousewort.
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