Himalayan Spurless Columbine
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Himalayan Spurless Columbine
ative Photo: Suresh Rana
Common name: Himalayan Spurless Columbine
Botanical name: Paraquilegia microphylla    Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)
Synonyms: Isopyrum grandiflorum var. microphyllum

Himalayan Spurless Columbine is a very distinctive small plant growing in rock crevices, often forming large clumps. It sports delicate, somewhat pendulous white, blue or lilac flowers and rather glaucous ferny leaves. Flowers are borne singly, cup-shaped, 2-3.5 cm acrossm with ovate petals. Flowers are borne in slender leafless stems 4-6 cm long. Bracts are 2, linear-lanceshaped. Flowers vary a lot in size and color. West Himalayan forms have small white flowers while the East Himalayan forms have large lilac flowers. Leaves grow all at the base, long-stalked, three-forked, with leaflets 1-2 cm across which are further divided into into deeply lobed segments. Rootstock is often clustered and covered with bases of old leaf-stalks. Seed-pods are 5-10 mm long, with persistent styles. Himalayan Spurless Columbine is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to SW China, C & N Asia, at altitudes of 3400-4900 m. Flowering: June-July.

Identification credit: Suresh Rana Photographed in Paddar Valley, Jammu & Kashmir.

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