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Plant Profile: Longspur Columbine (Aquilegia longissima)

Aquilegia_longissima 2This rare herbaceous perennial is native to Texas and Arizona. It is a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, that also includes peonies, hellebores, and clematis. The fragrant, nodding, pale yellow flowers appear in early summer and have spurs that are four to six inches long, giving rise to the specific epithet, longissima from the Latin word meaning longest. The foliage is pinnately compound and carried on long petioles. Unfortunately, the plants are short-lived, but they have contributed their genes to the development of hybrids with long spurs. An excellent choice for a cottage or woodland garden. The genus name, Aquilegia, comes from the Latin word aquila meaning eagle and perhaps refers to the resemblance of the spurs to the talons of an eagle.

ype: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Nodding, pale yellow with 4-6 inch long spurs in early summer

Size: 1-3’ H x 2’ W

Light: Light to moderate shade

Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Leaf minors, aphids, caterpillars, mildew, rust, fungal leaf spots, Wuthern blight

Propagation: Fresh seed; older seed with cold treatment

Companion Plants: Foamflower ( Tiarella cordifolia),coralbells (Heuchera), ferns, hosta