The genus name comes from the Greek word for dolphin – “delphis”, because of the flower shape.
It symbolizes lightness, fun, levity and joy.
Delphiniums grown in gardens today are usually hybrids, which development began in the 19th century.
Most of the cultivars and hybrids are derived from Delphinium elatum, which originated in Europe.
The flowers are beautiful, but toxic. All species are toxic to both humans and animals, causing skin irritation and digestive problems if ingested. As the plant grows, it loses some of its toxicity.
Delphiniums were once used as a common dye and also as a medicine to help with relaxation and sleep.
Today, the plant is considered toxic so it is no longer used for internal use.
Delphiniums come in several colors, including blue, red, pink, white, violet, and yellow, but blue is the most common.