National Records of Scotland

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Columbine (Grannie's Bonnets)

Columbine (Grannie's Bonnets)

Aquilegia vulgaris, family Ranunculaceae
May to June

Native to Britain and Europe it has been grown in gardens since before 1600 and is an established part of the cottage garden flora.

The Latin name is derived from the Greek aquila (eagle) referring to the talon-like spurs on the flowers which secrete nectar to be collected by honey bees.

Once associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love, it was later adopted by the Christian faith as one of Mary's flowers, and as such it regularly appears in paintings and tapestries associated with the birth of Christ. The popular name columbine is derived from the Latin columba meaning dove.

Columbine. Image credit: terri_bateman, Flickr. Public domain
Columbine. Image credit: Log Home Finishing, Flickr. Public domain