There is some disagreement as to the origin of the genus name. It is either from the Latin aqua and legere meaning "to collect water" which refers to the nectar producing spur of the flower or it derives from the term aquila meaning "eagle" referring to the shape of the curved shape of the spur that resembles a bird's talon.

The common name comes from the way the flowers appear to resemble doves (species L. columba) drinking.

Columbines are beautiful, delicate woodland flowers. About the only downside is that they tend to be rather short-lived in the garden and need to be either replaced or you must depend on self-seeding. Also, there is an insect called a leaf miner that may weaken the plants which contributes to their short life span sometimes.

A. akitensis Aquilegia alba
A. alpina Alpine Columbine
A. atrata  
A. bertolonhi Alpinerock Columbine
A. caerulea Colorado Columbine
A. canadensis American Columbine
A. chrysantha Golden Columbine
A. clematiflora Clematis­flowered Columbine
A. flabellata Fan Columbine
A. formosa Sitka Columbine
A. fragrans  
A. glandulosa Altai Columbine
A. x hybrida Short-spurred and
Long-spurred Hybrids
A. jonesili Jones Columbine
A. longissima Long-spurred Columbine
A. saximontana Rocky Mountain Columbine
A. schlockel  
A. scopulorum  
A. skinneri Skinner Columbine
A. vulgaris European Columbine

Species Flower color
nodding (N)
A. alpina blue/blue white H  ¾-1 N
A. caerulea blue/white S 1-2 U
A. canadensis yellow/red C ½ 1 N
A. chiysantha yellow/pale yellow H 2-2½ U
A. flabellata white/white H ¾-1 N
A. x hybrida various S 2-6 U
A. longissima yellow/pale yellow S 4-6 U
A. vulgaric blue/blue H ½-¾ N

* Guides and Keys are from the book "Herbaceous Perennial Plants A Treatise on their Identification, Culture and Garden Attributes" by Dr Allan M. Armitage of the University of Georgia. Varsity Press, Athens, Georgia. 1989 ISBN 0-942375-00. More on Dr Armitage and his other books.


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