Columbine

Mike Oxley

Cornwall Ontario, Canada

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Pinoteau Village, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
July 18, 2010

January’s image in my The Flowers of Le Lupin Calendar

The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because the shape of the flower petals are said to resemble an eagle’s claw.
“Columbine” is derived from the Latin word for pigeon (columba).

With thanks to flowerinfo.org

Although this blossom is frequently grown in gardens, the columbine flower is a highly celebrated wild bloom which grows in abundance all throughout wooded areas and meadows of the Northern Hemisphere. These flowers are a genus of around 65 to 70 species, all of which are well loved for their unique and otherworldly appearance. The head of the flower is bell-shaped with sharp, blade-like modified petal and spurs. Their colours range from the usual white, yellow, red, blue, pink and purple hues, but they may also be bi-coloured. Columbines are very tolerant to drought, and grow exceedingly well in warmer climates; however, they prefer at least partial shade and moist, but well drained soil.

The columbine flower has frequently been linked to birds. Although they are mostly a food plant to insect lifeforms, their general appearance has inspired the images of stately eagles and groups of doves. Its scientific name, aquilegia, is taken from the Latin word for eagle, which is namely due to the showy spurs, which some feel look similar to an eagle’s sharp, pointed talons. On the other hand, the name columbine is derived from the Latin word columba, which is a reference to doves. This name came about because some feel that the petals resemble five doves nestled close together. Historically, these plants were frequently consumed for their medicinal properties. Some people felt that the flowers, when crushed, made fantastic astringents as well as an effective soother of sore mouths and throats. They were also said to help sweep away kidney stones and cure liver obstructions. Today, however, people avoid the consumption of this plant, as it is now known that although the flowers themselves may be moderately harmless – and even mildly sweet to the taste – the roots and seeds are extremely poisonous, and can cause heart palpitations and severe stomach upsets. The columbine flower also has a small place in myth. This flower is said to be the symbol of Aphrodite, and is also used as a dedication to the Nordic goddess of the heavens.

The symbolism of the columbine flower is varied, and often quite confusing. It was once believed that this flower was a symbol for cuckoldry and foolishness, at the same time, however, it was considered a symbol of fidelity and holiness.

Today, though, these flowers are given as gifts to represent its more modern meanings of seduction, anxious excitement and a strong will to win.

These flowers make very uncommon but beautiful and meaningful gifts, and are sometimes given as potted plants or simple, single-cut flowers.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 17 to 70 at 70 mm
iso 100, spot metered, F4.5, 1/90 second
Tripod

Artwork Comments

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