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April Flora Spotlight:
Native Columbine

Native Columbine
Aquilegia canadensis


Columbine is found throughout the Eastern half of the US and grows in a variety of soil and light conditions. From woodland edges to riverbanks, gravelly shores and ridges, Columbine tolerates most soils except heavy, poorly drained ones. It is a beautiful native wildflower that blooms in late spring with striking 1.5 inch red and yellow flowers on long stems. It is pollinated by hummingbirds and butterflies. Growing to a height of 1-2 feet, it does best in partial shade to filtered sun. Cut back the brown leaves after flowering to promote fresh foliage that will be attractive all season. Plants often self-sow.

The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin word aquila, which means “an eagle”. This refers to the shape of the petals which resemble an eagle’s claw. Native Americans prepared infusions from various parts of the plant to treat heart trouble, kidney problems, headaches, bladder problems, fever and as a wash for poison ivy. Pulverized seeds were used as love charms and a compound was used to detect bewitchment.

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