Aquilegia vulgaris L.

Herb 30-60 cm tall. Leaves with leaflets 2-3 lobed, the individual lobes also lobed, waxy grey below. Stems hairy above. Flowers nodding blue to purple, sometimes white and sometimes double. Spurs about as long as the petals, mostly 2-2.5 cm long, strongly hooked; late spring. Fruit follicles mostly 5, strongly glandular hairy.


Extremely variable as a result of being long in cultivation with variants selected from seed or perpetuated clonally by division; the flowers may be double and come in various colours and sizes. Plants available as var. stellata are doubles without spurs and plants referred to as var. clematiflora, Clematis Columbine, probably belong here.

A. atrata W.D.J. Koch is occasionally available, it has flowers of 1 colour and hooked spurs distinctly longer than the petal body while A. oxysepala Trautv. &C.A. Mey. also has the hooked spurs but flowers that are of two colours, deep reddish purple, and white.

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Ranunculaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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Distribution map
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Ranunculanae
order      Ranunculales
family       Ranunculaceae
genus        Aquilegia L.