Friday, May 6, 2011

The Columbines of May


In my very first garden, I planted Columbines. It remains one of my favourite flowers. On the whole, it is wildflowers that I love most.

The Latin name for this wildflower is Aquilegia vulgaris. Aquila in Latin is the word for 'Eagle' and the flower was given this name because its blooms resembled an eagle's spurs.

Columbines are an ancient wildflower, linked to the Goddess Freya in the North and believed at one time to be an aphrodisiac. It was considered poor manners to present a young woman with Columbine flowers because of its sexual potency. Medicinal uses were not limited, however, to impotence but for kidneys, headaches, stomach upset and as an astringent for wounds. It has been used in treatment of cancer as well.

Columbine is a woodland flower that prefers shady areas to direct sunlight, although moisture is more vital than shade. It is a perennial that usually blooms early in Spring. Cultivated varieties can have more than one blooming period, however.

These are photographs of my Columbine plants on the 1st of May, traditionally a day devoted to the Goddess and to fertility.

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