Columbine Flowers

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 colors range from the usual white, yellow, red, blue, pink and purple hues, but they may also be bi-colored. 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.

Columbine Flower Pictures

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4 replies »

  1. The columbine is truly my favorite flower. I have lived in colorado my entire life and I have seen Columbines growing in places hardly any human has been. They have so much symbolism to me personally. I read once that if you gave someone a columbine as a gift it meant you thought they were how do you say mentally ill. They are such beautiful intricate and fragile flowers. I was looking last year for columbines to use in my wedding and didn’t have much luck. I tried to order fake ones and received some from china but they where backwards in color. It was quite comical! What should be purple was white and vise versa and the stamen or pollen in the center was black and red as opposed to white and
    yellow. I ended up trying to grow my own but wasn’t successful due to time. In some ways I wish they were more popular because it would make them more accessible but I’m afraid they wouldn’t be as unique. The thought of the flower meaning fidelity and holiness makes my heart soar because it was and is such a huge symbol of our wedding and relationship. Thank you for the added information on the flower I truly enjoyed it!

  2. Would like info on how and when to transplants these plants as they showed up in our yard after living here for 4 summers, also would like more info about Bleeding Heart plants re-replanting them where we can enjoy them rather in a lane strewn with garbage and wild weeds.

  3. I thought this was a weed under my porch steps and had pulled it for 3 years . Then I saw the leaves on a plant at Walmart !
    I more it to a different location and am awaiting the first flower to bloom.

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