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Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris)


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A perennial hairless herb that grows to around 1m. It has large trifoliate lobed leaves. It has 5 spurred sepals and five petals all coloured - usually blue but flowers can be violet-blue, pink or white. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. It prefers light sandy/loamy soils that are well-drained but moist . It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. The flowers are rich in nectar. The plant contains poisonous alkaloids but these are destroyed by heat or drying. Columbine was formerly employed in herbal medicine mainly to prevent scurvy. The root was sometimes used in poultices to treat ulcers and common skin diseases. The seed was used as to rid the hair of lice. It flowers May to June. Picture taken at Elstow, Bedfordshire - May 28th 2006.

29th May 2006 by Diane Earl

Biology, Science

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Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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