Aquilegia

Aquilegia (common names: granny's bonnet,[1] columbine) is a genus of about 60–70 species[2] of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals [3] of their flowers.

Columbine
Wald-Akelei.JPG
flower and fruit of Aquilegia vulgaris (type species)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Subfamily: Thalictroideae
Genus: Aquilegia
L.
Species

60-70, see text

EtymologyEdit

The genus name Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because of the shape of the flower petals, which are said to resemble an eagle's claw. The common name "columbine" comes from the Latin for "dove", due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together.[4]

DescriptionEdit

The leaves of this plant are compound and the flowers contain five sepals, five petals and five pistils. The fruit is a follicle which holds many seeds and is formed at the end of the pistils. Underneath the flower are spurs which contain nectar, mainly consumed by long-beaked birds such as hummingbirds.[5] Almost all Aquilegia species have a ring of staminodia around the base of the stigma, which may help protect against insects.[6]

RelativesEdit

Columbines are closely related to plants in the genera Actaea (baneberries) and Aconitum (wolfsbanes/monkshoods), which like Aquilegia produce cardiogenic toxins.[7]

InsectsEdit

They are used as food plants by some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) caterpillars. These are mainly of noctuid moths – noted for feeding on many poisonous plants without harm – such as cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae), dot moth (Melanchra persicariae) and mouse moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis). the engrailed (Ectropis crepuscularia), a geometer moth, also uses columbine as a larval food plant. The larvae of the Papaipema leucostigma also feed on columbine.[8]

Plants in the genus Aquilegia are a major food source for Bombus hortorum, a species of bumblebee. Specifically, they have been found to forage on species of Aquilegia vulgaris in Belgium and Aquilegia chrysantha in North America and Belgium. The bees do not show any preference in color of the flowers.[9]

CultivationEdit

 
Columbine cultivar 'Magpie'

Columbine is a hardy perennial, which propagates by seed. It will grow to a height of 15 to 20 inches. It will grow in full sun; however, it prefers growing in partial shade and well drained soil, and is able to tolerate average soils and dry soil conditions. Columbine is rated at hardiness zone 3 in the United States so does not require mulching or protection in the winter.[10][11]

Large numbers of hybrids are available for the garden, since the European A. vulgaris was hybridized with other European and North American varieties. [12] Aquilegia species are very interfertile, and will self-sow.[13] Some varieties are short-lived so are better treated as biennials.

The British National Collection of Aquilegias was held by Mrs Carrie Thomas at Killay near Swansea.[14] Some time during or before 2014 the collection started to succumb to Aquilegia Downy Mildew Peronospora aquilegiicola which was at the time an emerging disease to which the plants had no resistance. By 2018 the entire collection had been lost. [15]

UsesEdit

 
Double-flowered Aquilegia × hybrida

The flowers of various species of columbine were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet, and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plant's seeds and roots, however, are highly poisonous and contain cardiogenic toxins which cause both severe gastroenteritis and heart palpitations if consumed as food. Native Americans used very small amounts of Aquilegia root as a treatment for ulcers.[16] However, the medical use of this plant is better avoided due to its high toxicity; columbine poisonings may be fatal.[7]

An acute toxicity test in mice has demonstrated that ethanol extract mixed with isocytisoside, the main flavonoid compound from the leaves and stems of Aquilegia vulgaris, can be classified as non-toxic, since a dose of 3000 mg/kg did not cause mortality.[citation needed]

CultureEdit

The Colorado blue columbine (A. coerulea) is the official state flower of Colorado (see also Columbine, Colorado).

EvolutionEdit

Columbines have been important in the study of evolution. It was found that the Sierra columbine (A. pubescens) and crimson columbine (A. formosa) each has adapted specifically to a pollinator. Bees and hummingbirds are the visitors to A. formosa, while hawkmoths would only visit A. pubescens when given a choice. Such a "pollination syndrome", being due to flower color and orientation controlled by their genetics, ensures reproductive isolation and can be a cause of speciation.[17]

Aquilegia petals show an enormous range of petal spur length diversity ranging from a centimeter to the 15 cm spurs of Aquilegia longissima. Selection from pollinator shifts is suggested to have driven these changes in nectar spur length.[18] It was shown that this spur length diversity is achieved solely through changing cell shape, not cell number or cell size. This suggests that a simple microscopic change can result in a dramatic evolutionarily relevant morphological change.[3]

SpeciesEdit

 
Dark columbine (Aquilegia atrata)
 
Aquilegia alpina
 
Fan columbine (Aquilegia flabellata)
 
Fragrant columbine (Aquilegia fragrans)
 
Aquilegia × maruyamana
 
Pyrenean columbine (Aquilegia pyrenaica)

Columbine species include:[19]

See alsoEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Daylilies in Australia https://www.dayliliesinaustralia.com.au/aquilegia-grannys-bonnet-columbine. Retrieved 8 April 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ a b Puzey, J.R., Gerbode, S.J., Hodges, S.A., Kramer, E.M., Mahadevan, L. (2011) Evolution of Aquilegia spur length diversity through changes in cell anisotropy. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
  4. ^ Shorter Oxford English dictionary, 6th ed. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 2007. p. 3804. ISBN 978-0199206872.
  5. ^ Armstrong, Margaret (1915). Western Wild Flowers. New York and London: C.P. Putnam's Sons, The Knickerbocker Press. p. 134.
  6. ^ Voelckel, Claudia; Borevitz, Justin O.; Kramer, Elena M.; Hodges, Scott A. (2010-03-23). "Within and between Whorls: Comparative Transcriptional Profiling of Aquilegia and Arabidopsis". PLOS ONE. 5 (3): e9735. Bibcode:2010PLoSO...5.9735V. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009735. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 2843724. PMID 20352114.
  7. ^ a b Tilford (1997)
  8. ^ Roberts, Jason D. (August 19, 2015). "Species Papaipema leucostigma - Columbine Borer Moth - Hodges#9478". BugGuide. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  9. ^ Macior, Lazarus Walter (1966-03-01). "Foraging Behavior of Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Relation to Aquilegia Pollination". American Journal of Botany. 53 (3): 302–309. doi:10.2307/2439803. JSTOR 2439803.
  10. ^ The Gardener's Network
  11. ^ John Kilmer (1989). The Perennial Encyclopedia ISBN 0-88665-639-7
  12. ^ Andrew McIndoe, Kevin Hobbs: Perennials. David & Charles, 2005 ISBN 1-55870-764-6 ISBN 978-1-55870-764-1
  13. ^ New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada
  14. ^ "Plant Heritage - National Collections Scheme, UK Garden Plants". Nccpg.com. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  15. ^ "Touchwood Plants". Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  16. ^ Dermatier, Charmaine. "Plant of the Week: Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia flavescens)". US Forest Service. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  17. ^ Fulton & Hodges (1999), Hodges et al. (2002)
  18. ^ Whittall, Justen B.; Hodges, Scott A. (7 June 2007). "Pollinator shifts drive increasingly long nectar spurs in columbine flowers". Nature. 447 (7145): 706–709. Bibcode:2007Natur.447..706W. doi:10.1038/nature05857. PMID 17554306. S2CID 4412955.
  19. ^ Dezhi, Fu; Robinson, Orbélia R. (2001). "Aquilegia Linnaeus". Flora of China. 6: 278–281.

ReferencesEdit

Related readingEdit