Friday Flower – The adorable aquilegia

Aquilegia (columbine) – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This beautiful flower which belongs to the adorable aquilegia plant was staring up at me, proud to be the first to open, surrounded by slower growing, unopened flower buds in various stages of development. The name aquilegia comes from the Latin word for eagle because the petal spurs look like an eagles claw, although you might know this plant by the more common name of columbine. The nectar filled spurs attract moths, butterflies or hummingbirds to pollenate the opened flowers and different species of this plant have adapted the spur length to attract certain pollinators over others.  The flowers of some aquilegia species are edible in moderation, however the roots and seeds are incredibly toxic and can cause severe gastroenteritis, heart palpitations and even death. Despite it’s ominous nature, this plant stuns passers by with so many different varieties of colorful, bright and attractive flowers.

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