Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Wild Columbine
Aquilegia canadensis
Ranunculaceae

The seed is rubbed into the scalp to rid the hair of lice[172, 222].

The crushed seed is pleasantly aromatic and is used as a perfume. The fragrance persists for a long time[207].

  • Medicinal Use

    Antispasmodic, diaphoretic, parasiticide, resolvent, salve[172, 222].

    The root is astringent and diuretic[222, 257]. It is chewed or made into a weak tea for the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach aches[222]. The tea is used in the treatment of uterine bleeding[222].

    The boiled plant was used as a hair wash[213].

    The seed is anodyne and febrifuge[257]. An infusion is used in the treatment of headaches and fevers[257].

  • Edible Use

    Flowers – raw. Sweet and delightful[172]. Rich in nectar[213], they make a very attractive addition to mixed salads and can also be used as a thirst-quenching munch in the garden[K].

    Root[2, 105, 177]. These reports possibly refer to the root being chewed for its medicinal virtues[K]. Caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity[172].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, it belongs to a family that contains a number of mildly toxic species. It is therefore wise to exercise some caution. The flowers are probably perfectly safe to eat.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be slow to germinate[200]. Stored seed can be sown in late winter in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring[200].
An easily grown and very tolerant plant[K], it succeeds in ordinary garden soil, preferring a moist but not wet soil and a sunny position[1]. Intolerant of heavy clay[200]. Does well in semi-shade[111]. Prefers a rather poor slightly acid soil[111]. A very ornamental and cold-hardy plant, it tolerates temperatures down to about -25¡c[1,187]. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits[233]. A greedy plant inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. Plants are pollinated by humming birds in the wild[187]. Most species in this genus are short-lived, dying out after 2 – 3 years, though they usually produce seed prolifically[200]. However, they are very apt to hybridize with other members of the genus and so it becomes difficult to keep a species true to type if more than one is grown in the garden[200].
N. America – Nova Scotia to the Northwest Territories and south to Nebraska, Texas and Florida.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.