Columbine

photo by Jim Liestman CC BY-SA

Aquilegia

Different species of this showy woodland flower can be found across Canada, flowering in shady woodlands and moist rocky sites from late spring to early summer. Columbine is an erect, branching plant (1-3 ft) with groups of 3 green to blue-green leaflets with ragged edges.

The drooping bell-like flowers have 5 upward spurred petals (1-2 in) around a mass of bushy yellow stamens. The petals are often red or yellow but can also be blue. The spurs or tubes contain nectar that attracts long-tongued insects and hummingbirds. The flowers form individually or in groups of two or three.

Garden Columbine comes in a wider range of colours, such as pink and blue, and is not native to North America.

Did you know? The spurred petals are said to resemble eagle talons, hence the Columbine's official name, Aquilegia, from the Latin word aquila meaning eagle.