Red Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, is one of our loveliest early spring flowers, with hanging red flowers that have long spurs and yellow centers. The nectar at the base of the spurs attracts long-tongued insects and hummingbirds. The flowers are mature when migrating hummingbirds appear in our area, and are important food for these little birds, and for early butterflies and bees as well. Insects seeking the nectar will brush against the extended anthers, collecting pollen to transfer to a neighboring flower with receptive female parts.
Native to eastern U.S., Red Columbine is found in most counties of Virginia, growing wild in roadsides and forest edges. This early, long-blooming (March-May) spring plant forms small clumps about 2 feet tall. Once established, Red Columbine is easy to grow in a woodland garden with moist soil.
This perennial has a light, airy appearance, but is very durable and tolerant of cold weather. The aboveground plant disappears in the fall, but return...
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