Common Larkspur, Consolida ajacis syn. C. ambigua, Delphinium ajacis, D. ambiguum and D. gayanum, is also known as Eastern larkspur and rocket larkspur. It is an attractive hardy annual, reaching a height and spread of 1m (3′) x 30cm (1′) and is frequently grown as an ornamental. It requires full sun and a moist soil. Larkspur is useful to organic gardeners, as it functions as a trap plant for Japanese beetles.
Sow the fresh seed successionally from Spring to early Summer direct into moist soil, barely cover seed, thin to 23cm (9″). Seedlings do not transplant well.
Pick leaves as required for medicinal use. The juice of the flowers can be mixed with alum to make ink.
Poisonous – do not use internally.
A tincture of the seeds can be used to kill head lice (cooties). To be honest, it’s probably easier to buy this than make it yourself.
Consolida ajacis is not used in aromatherapy. The oil sometimes called yellow larkspur is in fact nasturtium (Tropaeolum), which is not even related.
I’d advise growing this organically if you wish to make your own tincture. But then again, I’m a strong organic gardening advocate. In this specific case, since it is only used externally, you could probably get away with using conventional gardening methods. But all your other herbs are most likely also to be affected by proximity, so I still say organic is best.
This post is a slightly adapted extract from “Unusual Medicinal Herbs”, which is a Kindle book. If you’d like to get your own copy (or borrow it free if you’re an Amazon Prime member) please download your copy of Unusual Medicinal Herbs here.