Species of Aquilegia are polymorphic and difficult to define adequately. Some of the variability is because of introgressive hybridization. Even distantly related species of columbine are often freely interfertile, and many cases of natural hybridization and introgression are known from North America. In arid areas Aquilegia species tend to form small populations often completely isolated from one another - this leads to local fixation of genes and therefore increased variability in species such as Aquilegia. micrantha and Aquilegia. desertorum . In addition, populations with spurless petals are occasionally found in many species[
Aquilegia australis Small.
Aquilegia coccinea Small
Aquilegia elegans Salisb.
Aquilegia eminens Greene
Aquilegia flaviflora Tenney
Aquilegia latiuscula Greene
Aquilegia phoenicantha Cory
Aquilegia variegata Moench
Common Name: Wild Columbine
Aquilegia canadensis is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing a cluster of basal leaves with one or more flowering stems that can grow 15 - 90cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, food and source of materials. It is often grown as an ornamental in gardens.
Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, it belongs to a family that contains a number of mildly toxic species. It is therefore wise to exercise some caution. The flowers are probably perfectly safe to eat.
N. America - Saskatchewan to Maine, south to Texas, Alabama and northern Florida
Rocky, wooded or open slopes and sometimes in swamps[
]. Shaded or open woods, often around cliffs, rock outcrops, and forest edge, sometimes in swamps; at elevations from sea level to 1,600 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A very cold-hardy plant, it tolerates temperatures down to about -25°c[1,187].
An easily grown and very tolerant plant[
], it succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring a moist but not wet soil and a sunny position[
]. Intolerant of heavy clay[
]. Does well in semi-shade[
]. Prefers a rather poor slightly acid soil[
A very ornamental plant, often grown in gardens - there are many named varieties.
Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[
A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[
]. Plants are pollinated by humming birds in the wild[
Most species in this genus are short-lived, dying out after 2 - 3 years, though they usually produce seed prolifically[
]. However, they are very apt to hybridize with other members of the genus and so it becomes difficult to keep a species true to type if more than one is grown in the garden[
Flowers - raw. Sweet and delightful[
]. Rich in nectar[
], they make a very attractive addition to mixed salads and can also be used as a thirst-quenching munch in the garden[
]. These reports possibly refer to the root being chewed for its medicinal virtues[
]. Caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity[
The plant is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, parasiticide, resolvent, salve[
Native Americans prepare infusions from various parts of the plant to treat heart trouble, kidney problems, headaches, bladder problems, and fever, and as a wash for poison ivyt[
The root is astringent and diuretic[
]. It is chewed or made into a weak tea for the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach aches[
]. The tea is used in the treatment of uterine bleeding[
The seed is anodyne and febrifuge[
]. An infusion is used in the treatment of headaches and fevers[
The seed is rubbed into the scalp to rid the hair of lice[
The crushed seed is pleasantly aromatic and is used as a perfume. The fragrance persists for a long time[
The boiled plant was used as a hair wash[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be slow to germinate[
]. Stored seed can be sown in late winter in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer.
Division in spring[