Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis L.) is a treasured wildflower that grows in much of North America. This one grows in the woodlands around my home near the small town of Franklin, North Carolina, USA in Macon County.
© Jean Gregory Evans
Eastern Red Columbine has been featured in:
Winner of WILD FLOWERS of APPALACHIA CHALLENGE in Appalachian Life & Artists!
Excerpt: This beautiful woodland wildflower has showy, drooping, bell-like flowers equipped with distinctly backward-pointing tubes, similar to the garden Columbines. These tubes, or spurs, contain nectar that attracts long-tongued insects and hummingbirds especially adapted for reaching the sweet secretion. It is reported that Native Americans rubbed the crushed seeds on the hands of men as a love charm.
Aquilegia canadensis (Canadian or Canada Columbine, Eastern Red Columbine, wild columbine, honeysuckle) is a herbaceous perennial native to woodland and rocky slopes in eastern North America, prized for its red and yellow flowers. It readily hybridizes with other species in the genus.
Height is 15–90 cm (6–35 in). Leaves are lobed and grouped in 3s, growing from the base and off the flowering stems.
Flowers are 1-2 inches long and have yellow petals with a red spur and red sepals. They appear in late spring, nodding on stems above the leaves. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds.
The caterpillars of Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) feed on the leaves.
The plant is easily propagated from seed and blooms the second year. It is relatively long lived in the garden. It grows well in shade, and in sun with proper moisture.
The cultivar ‘Little Lanterns’ is half the height of the species.
Native American tribes used various parts red columbine in herbal remedies.
Canada columbine contains a cyanogenic glycoside, which releases poisonous hydrogen cyanide when the plant is damaged.