The name of the delphinium flower is derived from the Latin word for dolphin; this is due to the long, sleek appearance of the unopened flower. Delphiniums are a genus of around 300 species in the ranunculaceae family. These flower stems grow from 4 inches to roughly 7 feet in height, the blossoms of which sprout from a raceme and consist of five sepals that grow together and form a hollow bowl shape with a spur at the tip, while four delicate petals grow at the center. These blossoms traditionally come in bright, creamy white, dainty pink, and a marvelous purple blue combination; however, some of the highbred flowers can be seen in shocking reds, oranges and yellows.
The delphinium flower has an interesting story in both real life and in myth. During the early 20th century Frank Reinelt – who was once the head gardener for the Romanian Queen, Marie – relocated to the United States and started his own nursery. In his gardens he began hybridizing delphiniums, and by the 1930s he had fathered one of the more popular breeds, the Pacific Giant. In Greek mythology the delphinium flower was said to have blossomed from the blood of Aias – or Ajax – and the petals were inscribed with the word ai, ai – or alas, alas. The delphinium may also be noted for its uses. Although these flowers, when consumed in large quantities, can be poisonous, many still feel that they have some very potent medicinal uses. The most commonly used flower is the delphinium staphisagria, which is thought to be helpful in curing diseases or irritations of the reproductive system, as well as aiding in mental and acute respiratory ailments. These flowers may also be used to repel pests such as lice, and are thought to have a curative effect on scorpion stings.
The delphinium flower is said to represent big-heartedness and the essence of divine qualities. They are also meant to symbolize levity, fun and a general sense of joy. As a gift, these flowers can brighten up any arrangement, be it fresh or dried. Given their general meaning of warmth and buoyancy, it is not surprising that these blossoms are also representative of summery July births.