Native Columbine Now in Community

  • Post published:05/29/2014
  • Post comments:7 Comments
Native columbine
Native columbine

Even though I am a day late for Wildflower Wednesday, I wanted to show off my native columbine, Aquilegia canadensis. I bought this last spring from Polly French in Shelburne Falls. She has been propagating wildflowers for many years to fund her conservation efforts, but this year she realized it was time to put the propagation beds to bed. Because of her there are many, mostly spring blooming native plants in gardens throughout  our hill  towns. I had never seen this color combination before I visited Polly’s garden. It is not fancy like the garden hat hybrids, but it is so unassuming and charming. It is growing strongly and has even seeded itself. Soon there will be a little community.


This columbine (not quite open today) was given to me many years ago by a dear friend. It has been moved here and there, but now, under the Mothlight hydrangea it has created a whole community of columbines. It seems to have found this shady, well drained site to its liking.

The name Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila for  eagle because to some the flower looks like eagle talons. Of course, some think the flower looks like a jester’s cap and bells, making it a symbol for foolishness. Long tongued insects search for nectar in  those long spurs or tubes with the golden stamens.  For me the this modest native columbine which looks so fragile, is sturdy and lighthearted. I like the idea that it might be the cap of a very pretty jester.


This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Margaret

    Columbine’s are so pretty. They were one of the 1st perennials I got when I first moved out on my own – I actually didn’t realize that they could self-seed…

  2. Chloris

    I love all Aquilegias; the frilly granny bonnets, pompoms and long spurred, but your little native Aquilegia canadensis is absolutely charming. I shall look out for it here in England.

  3. Sally

    The native Columbine is lovely. I’m working on adding more natives to my garden so had read that there was a red one that grew in MA……it’s exciting to see it!

  4. Rose

    I love the blooms of columbine! I have one very similar that I purchased at a gardener’s plant sale last year, but I can’t remember if it’s the native or not. I do hope it re-seeds here as well!

  5. casa mariposa

    I have a lot of columbine and just bought more of the native red today. :o) I’ve never seen the blue before! It’s beautiful! I’ll have to add it to my list of plants to look for.

  6. Pat

    Margaret – columbine self seeding is a great gift.
    Chloris – I hope you find it. Plant exchanges are not usually deterrred by an ocean.
    Donna – I love the colors of this native.
    Sally – I love have lots of natives in my garden and knowing I am supporting the food web.
    Rose – I don’t know about hybrids but there are lots of columbines that do self seed.
    Casa – I’m afraid that blue columbine is actually purple. Something about the way my camera handles certain colors.

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