Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Wild Columbine is an Adirondack wildflower which grows throughout upstate New York as well. Wild Columbine is a member of the buttercup family. In spring and summer, the plant produces showy, drooping red and yellow flowers with five long spurs and many protruding yellow stamens. Each flower is between one and 1.5 inches long. The flowers of this plant provide nectar that attracts bumblebees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. The flowering season is from mid-May through June. The plant is also known as Wild Red Columbine, Red Columbine, "Aquilegia" is derived from the Latin word "aquila," which means eagle; some believe that the petals resemble an eagle's talons.
The foliage of the Wild Columbine is bluish green. The plant has compound basal leaves, with three lobed leaflets up to 1.5 inches long. Wild Columbine grows one to three feet high.
Wild Columbine flourishes in a variety of habitats, including shaded or open woods, rocky woodlands, wet cliffs, and rocky slopes. It can be found in the eastern half of the US and Canada, east to New Brunswick and south to Nebraska, Texas and Florida..
Wild Columbine has been used in a variety of folk remedies. North American Indians reportedly crushed the seeds to use as a headache remedy. They also are said to have prepared infusions from various parts of the plant as a treatment for heart trouble, poison ivy, kidney problems, headaches, bladder problems, and fever. The crushed seed is pleasantly aromatic and has been used as a perfume. In addition, native Americans reportedly rubbed the crushed seeds on the hands of men as a love charm.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Native Plant Database.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Plants Database.
- Plants for a Future. Database.
- Flora of North America. Plant Database.
- US Forest Service. Celebrating Wildflowers.
- Anne McGrath. Wildflowers of the Adirondacks (EarthWords, 2000), pp. 52, 72.
- Doug Ladd. North Woods Wildflowers (Falcon Publishing, 2001), p. 96.
- Lawrence Newcomb. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide (Little Brown and Company, 1977), pp. 228-229.
- Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny. A Field Guide to Wildflowers. Northeastern and North-central North America (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1968) pp. 216-217.
- William K. Chapman, et al. Wildflowers of New York in Color (Syracuse University Press, 1998), pp. 68-69.
Audubon Society. Field Guide to Wildflowers. Eastern Region.
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), pp. 405, 615.