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The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because of the shape of the flower petals, which are said to resemble an eagle's claw. The common name "columbine" comes from the Latin for "dove", due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together.
Plants in the genus Aquilegia are a major food source for Bombus hortorum, a species of bumblebee. Specifically, they have been found to forage on species of Aquilegia vulgaris in Belgium and Aquilegia chrysantha in North America and Belgium. The bees do not show any preference in color of the flowers. The flowers of various species of columbine were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet, and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plant's seeds and roots, however, are highly poisonous and contain cardiogenic toxins which cause both severe gastroenteritis and heart palpitations if consumed as food. Native Americans used very small amounts of Aquilegia root as a treatment for ulcers.Puzey, J. R.; Gerbode, S. J.; Hodges, S. A.; Kramer, E. M.; Mahadevan, L. (2011). "Evolution of spur-length diversity in Aquilegia petals is achieved solely through cell-shape anisotropy" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 279 (1733): 1640–1645. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.1873. PMC 3282339. PMID 22090381.Aquilegia seed heads are illustrated in the right of the image, and if you are collecting your own seed, it is best to wait until the seed heads look similar to the image, they have dried and turned brown. Aquilegia seeds are small and black. Small seed is more difficult to handle, but it makes a difference if you can to sow the seed thinly because it will avoid a bunch of seed germinating in a clump which is then difficult to thin out. If collecting your own seed, note that Aquilegias will hybridise and are unlikely to look like the parent plant. This means if you want a particular variety, it is best to buy commercial seed.
Columbine (Aquilegia spp.) blooms are said to resemble jester's caps, and their effectiveness at attracting hummingbirds will certainly put bird watchers in a merry mood. This herbaceous perennial is an airy plant with attractive clover-like foliage. The blooms come in many colors, and most have spurs: long, narrow strips streaming horizontally from the back of each flower. This plant is generally planted in early spring. Established plants typically bloom for about four weeks, starting in mid-spring. (Source: www.thespruce.com)