Thursday, December 14, 2006

Aquilegia, Columbines

This is a good time for digging up pictures taken during spring and summer. So many things were blooming and much work to be done so I neglected blogging about the plants thinking it would be a good project for the winter. So here it is.

I was going through some photos I took earlier this year and I was astounded that we had acquired so many kinds of columbines since we moved to our new home 5 years ago. They grow like weeds here, often self seed and don't seem to mind the hard clay under 3-4 inches of topsoil.

The name comes from the Latin for dove, apparently people naming the plant thought they looked like a flock of doves? At least that's the description in my 'Botanica' book. I thought Aquilla was an eagle, at least that's what I remembered from my High School Latin class which I almost flunked. I looked it up and Aquila with one l is Latin for eagle (the ole noggin is apparently still working). Aha, this website gives this meaning:'Aquilegia, from the Latin, aquilinum, "eagle like", because the spurs suggested the talons of an eagle to Linnaeus'. And from this website: 'Aquilegia: from the Latin aquila, "an eagle," referring to the shape of the petals which is said to be like an eagle's claw (ref. genus Aquilegia)'. I wonder what Linnaeus really wrote in his description of columbines? One begins to think there is much mis-information on the web.

The advice is to cut them to the ground in winter but we don't do that and the plants seem to be fine without this treatment.

The photo is of probably A. vulgaris the common or European columbine, double form,looks like pink bonnets amongst rhododendrons. Many were bought without names so I'll post pictures with no ID.


Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

Your Columbines look nice against the Rhododendrons. Don't forget Columbine flowers are edible. Just in case you ever get lost in the Rocky Mountains ;-)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

I didn't know that they were edible. I'm always up for trying something new to eat so I'll toss a few petals in a salad in the spring - I'm assuming that's the part you eat? We were known as the weird neighbors in the townhouse complex where we lived when we raided our neighbor's unkempt yard full of lambsquarter and amaranth. Cooked it like spinach, delicious. The neighbors were agahst...aren't they poisonous or something...? We obviously didn't die but they wouldn't try some. Now who's weird? If it's good enough for Euell Gibbons...

6:53 PM  

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