Family: Ranunculaceae
Common Name: Columbine

The common name for these graceful perennials comes from the Latin for 'dove'. Native to Europe and Asia, they have fern-like foliage and beautiful star-shaped, spurred tlowers in interesting colours.


A. vulgaris, granny's bonnets or columbine, is the species from which most garden plants derive. It has lacy, fern-like, blueish green leaves and star-shaped flowers with spurs of varying lengths. From this species has come a great range of hybrids, including bi-coloured, double-centered and long-spurred flowers. There are now columbines in various shades of blue, pink and copper, as well as red and cream. Dwarf forms are also available, flowering in spring or early summer. Many other species and hybrids are grown in cool Climates.


Columbine likes a well-drained, loose soil and filtered sun. It seeds freely in the garden, but seedling plants may not come true to the parent. If true stock is required, propagate from fresh selected seed and isolate from other varieties. Strong plants may be divided in spring. First year flowers may disappoint in cool areas, but should improve in the next year.


Many thrive in zone 4 and above, including A. vulgaris.

Aptenia      Arabis