Himalayan Columbine
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Himalayan Columbine
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Himalayan Columbine, Hairy-flowered Columbine
Botanical name: Aquilegia pubiflora    Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

An enchanting sight in the Himalayas is a carpet of blue-violet Columbines, and a breeze gently rippling through them, turning their delicate heads this way and that rather like butterflies fluttering in the breeze. Columbines grow at a height of 2500-3300 m on open slopes and semi-shaded groves in the Himalayas all along from the west to the east. Columbines are very elegantly formed and coloured in shades of lilac, purple and pinky-violet. The flower is very easy to distinguish because of the five backward projecting spurs of the inner petals. The spurs are full of nectar. A row of inner and outer petals forms the columbine, which grows in a drooping fashion. The leaves are divided into three lobes with crenate edges and look rather ferny. The botanical name of the columbine Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila, an eagle, referring to the claw-like spurs. The name columbine supposedly comes from columba, a dove; the outer petals with the spurs resemble a group of pigeons clustered around a dish, a motif often used in fountains. Flowering: June-August.

Identification credit: Nongthombam Ullysess Photographed in Kufri, Himachal Pradesh & Triund route, Himachal Pradesh.

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