Columbines

Scientific Name: Aquilegia (genus)

Fact Box:

  • Order: Ranunculales
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • Genus: Aquilegia

INTRODUCTION

Although columbines may be considered common, they always surprise me with their innumerable varieties, hybrids, and cultivars that result in fascinating color combinations. They easily cross-pollinate with other Aquilegias, so you might find uniquely colored flowers when two columbine species are planted close together. Just at the back of the school, we have some multi-colored columbines (pictured below).

Columbines have cup-shaped flowers, and most species have spurs that extend from the back of the flowers. These perennial plants are part of the Ranunculaceae family, commonly known as buttercups. The origins of the columbine are from Europe and Asia, and the flowers most likely came to America tens of thousands of years ago via the land bridge between Asia and Alaska.

Some associate columbines with love and the goddess Aphrodite.
To others, the columbine represents silliness or stupidity.
The columbine is a delightful flower to behold in the spring, no matter where you are.