Ranunculaceae: Buttercup Family — Delphinium (Larkspur)
The buttercup family has a wide variety of plants, but most of them have leaves with 3 lobes, or in groups of 3.
Some larkspurs can be tricky to identify. The structure of the flower is not intuitive. What look like petals are actually 5 sepals: upper sepal, 2 lateral sepals and 2 lower sepals. The uppermost sepal extends back to cover the nectar-secreting spurs of the two upper petals, and forms the eponymous spur. The 4 petals are in the center, much smaller, and usually the same color as the sepals. The two lower petals are generally vertically aligned, and sometimes appear more or less joined to form a raised dome. To identify the flower, it may be important to notice whether the lateral sepals are spreading (with the tips facing forward) or recurved (swept back). Likewise, whether the fruits are straight (with only the tips curved out) or widely spreading. Leaves vary widely, with lobes ranging from very narrow to broad. Sometimes the leaves wither before flowering, sometimes not.