Family : Ranunculaceae
Once, while walking in the valley of Kashmir, I rounded a bend and there, spread in front of me was a carpet of blue-violet columbines in a sun-dappled grove of conifers and maples.
A breeze was 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.
They bloom from early June to August.
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 columbine was once used as a medicinal plant in the past centuries in Europe and was used as a garnish for food. It has been used in homeopathy for troubles of the nervous system. There are several varieties of this flower found in the Himalayas. Many garden varieties of the columbine have been developed and are grown in hill gardens.
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 fountain
Packets contain approximately 100 seeds
The Jammu and Kashmir medicinal Plants Introduction Centre
"Ginkgo House", Nambalbal, New Coloney Azizabad, Via Wuyan-Meej Road, Pampore PPR J&K 192121