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European Columbine

Aquilegia vulgaris


Also known as European columbine, Common columbine or Granny's nightcap, this flowering plant from Ranunculaceae family grows up to 75cm or 100cm. It produces branched stems with numerous dark blue flowers, somewhat resembling a sleeping bonnet, which explains the name. Flowers, pendant or horizontal, are unmistakable by their form with long spurs pointing mainly upwards. The plant can be found in various colors, ranging from purple or blue to pink or even white (see my next spotting). Flowers are hermaphrodites, and the pollination done by bees and bumble-bees.


I was rather surprised to find a large group, almost forming a massif, around our building in semi-urban setting; close o the town center, ut equally close to a meadow and a forest. It was found in a part of the garden that was not really entertained for some time (or at least it looks that way - I can't ascertain it, we recently moved here...), apparently on purpose, and is full of wildflowers this spring.


It seems that the plant contains a mildly toxic glucoside of hydrogen cyanide, which is used in medicine. It was ascertained that, like many members of the family, all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested. Its concoctions were successfully used to control lice.

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Zlatan Celebic
Spotted by
Zlatan Celebic

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Tromelin Island

Spotted on Apr 29, 2018
Submitted on May 3, 2018

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