Columbines have been one of the first wildflowers that I tend to plant in my garden upon moving into a new home as they are low maintenance and so pretty, like fairy flowers. Their Latin name, aquilegia, has been attributed to 'aquila' for eagle as their petals resemble an eagle's talons or 'aqua' for water as the nectar gathers in droplets at the end of the spurs. Columbine comes from the Latin 'colmbina' meaning dove-like as the flower also resembles a cluster of doves. They are also known as Granny Bonnets and their nectar is gratefully gathered by bees and butterflies.
Though the seeds and roots are toxic, the flower petals are sweet and considered safe if used in small quantities, however Native Americans traditionally used small amounts of the root to treat ulcers. Medical use of the plant is not advised due to its high toxicity,
AIRdirondack Art Project