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 Aquilegia subsp. var.  Columbine
Columbine cultivar 'Magpie'
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
Height: 6 in to 30 in
Width: warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. to warning.png"" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
Lifespan: perennial
Poisonous: yes, see text
Bloom: mid spring
Exposure: sun, part-sun
Water: moderate
Features: flowers, naturalizes, foliage
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: 3 to 9.5
Sunset Zones:
Flower features: red, yellow, blue, purple, multicolored, pink, white, single, double
Ranunculaceae > Aquilegia var. ,

Colombine [1] is a genus of about 60-70 species of columbines, herbaceous perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They are known for their distinctive flowers, generally bell-shaped, with each petal modified into an elongated nectar spur. Its fruit takes the form of a follicle.[2] Columbine is derived from the Latin word for Dove.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Aquilegia (from aquilegus, water-drawer, not from aquila, eagle). Ranunculaceae. Columbine. Hardy perennial herbs of the northern hemisphere; grown for their profusion of showy flowers in early summer, and the delicate foliage later on in the year.

Mostly with paniculate branches, terminated by showy fls., and 1-3 ternately-compound Lvs., commonly glaucous: the lfts. roundish and obtusely lobed: fls. large, showy, usually in spring or early summer; sepals 5, regular, petaloid; petals concave, produced backward between the sepals, forming a hollow spur; stamens numerous: fr. of about 5 many-seeded follicles.

The columbines are among the most beautiful and popular of all hardy plants. The tall and strong-growing species can be used to advantage in half-shady positions. The attractive forms and rich variations in hue of aquilegias come out well when associated with hemerocallis, Siberian irises, thalictrums, polygonatums, Spiraea Filipendula and wild ferns. In the North, a similar effect is produced by grouping columbines together with white and blue Lupinus polyphyllus, Campanula persicifolia, Iris germanica and I. pattida var. dalmatica, Iceland poppies and trollius. For rockeries, the low-growing early alpine species, such as A. alpina, A. Stuartii and A.flabellata are well adapted. Throughout the middle and northern states, columbines need winter protection, dry leaves being preferable for covering.

Seeds sown in pans, in coldframes in March, or open air in April, occasionally bloom the first season, but generally the second. The different species should be some distance apart, if possible, if pure seed is desired, as the most diverse species hybridize directly. They may be propagated by division of the roots in late fall, winter or early spring, but the better way is by seeds. Absolutely pure seed is hard to obtain except from the plants in the wild state; and some of the mixed forms are quite inferior to the true species from which they have come. A. caerulea, A. glandulosa, and A. vulgaris are likely to flower only two or three years, and should be treated as biennials; but A. vulgaris may be kept active for a longer period by transplanting.

A light sandy soil, moist, with good drainage, sheltered, but exposed to sun, is what aquilegias prefer. Some of the stronger species, when of nearly full flowering size, may be transplanted into heavier garden soil, even heavy clay, and made to succeed; but for the rearing of young seedlings, a light, sandy loam is essential. The seed of most columbines is rather slow in germinating, and it is necessary to keep the soil moist on top of the ground until the young plants are up. A coldframe, with medium heavy cotton covering, is a good place to grow the plants. The cotton retains sufficient moisture to keep the soil moist on top, and still admits sufficient circulation of air to prevent damping-off of the young seedlings. When large enough, the seedlings may be pricked out into another frame for a time, or, by shading for a few days until they get a start, they may be set into the permanent border, or wherever they are to be placed.

A. baikalensis, Hort. Fls. large, violet-blue, spurs long.—A. hay- lodg'nsis, Hort., and its var. delicatissima, Hort., are much like A. chrysantha, and resemble it in habit and color of fls. but the spurs are not so long.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

The flowers of various species of Aquilegia were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet, and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plants seeds and roots are highly poisonous, and contain cardiogenic toxins which cause both severe gastroenteritis and heart palpitations if consumed as food.


Aquilegia calendar?
March: sow
April: transplant
May: flowering
June: flowering
September: divide
October: sow

Large numbers of hybrids are now available for the garden, since the British A vulgaris was joined by other European and N American varieties. [3] Aquilegia species are very interfertile, and will self sow. [4]


Pests and diseases


Selected species: Columbine species include:[5]



  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. Dezhi & Robinson (2001)
  3. Andrew McIndoe, Kevin Hobbs: Perennials. David & Charles, 2005 ISBN 1558707646, 9781558707641
  4. New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada
  5. Dezhi & Robinson (2001), RBGE [2008], USDA [2008]

External links

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