Stems 25-50(-65) cm; base usually reddish, glabrous, glaucous. Leaves mostly basal, 4-10 at anthesis; cauline leaves 1-4 at anthesis; green leaves usually present on proximal 1/5 of stem at anthesis; petiole 1-12 cm, glabrous. Leaf blade ± round, 0.5-4 × 0.5-6 cm, puberulent to glabrous; ultimate lobes 3-9, width 2-15 mm (basal), 0.5-3 mm (cauline). Inflorescences 10-25(-40)-flowered, cylindric; pedicel ascending, 0.6-2.5 cm, glabrous; bracteoles 2-5 mm from flowers, green to blue, linear-lanceolate, 2-4 mm, glabrous. Flowers: sepals bright dark blue, glabrous, lateral sepals spreading, 11-14 × 4-6 mm, spurs straight, sometimes decurved, ascending 30-45° above horizontal, 13-18 mm; lower petal blades elevated, exposing stamens, 5-8 mm, cleft 2-4 mm; hairs mostly centered on inner lobes near junction of blade and claw, white. Fruits 12-16 mm, 2.5-3 times longer than wide, glabrous. Seeds: seed coat cells ± brick-shaped, cell margins straight, surfaces smooth. 2 n = 16.
Delphinium scaposum is reportedly used in Navajo and Hopi religous ceremonies, as well as for a wash following childbirth (D. E. Moerman 1986).
FNA 1997, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Native perennial with leafless stems, 20-50 cm tall and glabrous. Leaves: Mostly basal, occasional reduced stem leaves, 3-5 divisions; divisions lobed and 2-3 cm wide. Flowers: Raceme with 5-15 flowers, sepals 5, petal-like, 10-15 mm, blue, the petals 4 in 2 unequal pairs, white, spur as long as sepals, bronze-tipped. Fruits: Follicles 10-20 mm long, glabrous and with seeds dark brown. Ecology: Found in exposed rocky areas from 1,500-8,500 ft (457-2591 m); flowers March-June. Notes: Distinguished from other Delphinium by more or less leafless stems and flowers with blue sepals and white petals. Ethnobotany: Hopi use as emetic in Po-wa-mu ceremony. Also used as after birth wash. Navajo make blue dye from flower. Etymology: Delphinium is Discorides- name for dolphin-head, while scaposum is ancient word referring to leafless stems. Synonyms: D. andersonii var. scaposum Editor: SBuckley, 2010