Stems (20-)60-100(-160) cm; base reddish or not, glabrous. Leaves mostly on proximal 1/3 of stem, on proximal 1/5 at anthesis; basal leaves 0-3 at anthesis; cauline leaves 4-7 at anthesis; petiole 1.5-17 cm. Leaf blade round to pentagonal, 1.5-7 × 2-14 cm, glabrous; ultimate lobes 3-12, width 4-30(-45) mm (basal), 3-30 mm (cauline). Inflorescences 3-15(-35)-flowered, open, often ± secund; pedicel 1-4(-15) cm, glabrous to puberulent; bracteoles 2-8(-37) mm from flowers, green, linear, 4-7(-11) mm, nearly glabrous. Flowers: sepals bluish purple, nearly glabrous, lateral sepals spreading, (10-)12-18 × 7-10 mm, spurs usually downcurved, ca. 30° below horizontal, 11-22 mm; lower petal blades slightly elevated, ± exposing stamens, 4-6 mm, clefts 1-2 mm; hairs mostly near base of cleft on inner lobes, yellow, sometimes white. Fruits 13-20 mm, 3.5-4 times longer than wide, puberulent. Seeds unwinged; seed coat cells with surfaces roughened. 2 n = 16. Flowering summer-early autumn. Wet sites near springs, streamsides, bogs, and wet talus; 2200-3600 m; Calif., Nev. Delphinium polycladon hybridizes with D . depauperatum and D . glaucum . Plants of D . polycladon are extremely variable. Individuals from very rocky, thin-soiled, sunny sites at higher elevations tend to be quite compact; they show the features of the species in a dwarfed state. Proximal internodes are especially shortened. Plants from areas of deeper soil (high or low elevations), especially those growing among shrubs, usually are much taller, with elongate proximal internodes, and other vegetative parts proportionally larger. Shorter plants may be confused with D . depauperatum or D . nuttallianum ; see discussion under those species for distinguishing features. Taller plants may be confused with D . glaucum ; they can be distinguished by their leaves predominately on proximal part of stem, sigmoid pedicel, and fewer flowers.