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Valentine.gr  

March 2008

Did you know that the the seeds of Aquilegia were rubbed into the human hair to control lice?

  (Aquilegia vulgaris) 

Aquilegia (Columbine) - Aquilegia spp.

Aquilegia (columbine) is a genus of about 60-70 species of herbaceous perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Aquilegias, or Columbines are known for their distinctive flowers, that are produced during the summer, generally bell-shaped, with each petal modified into an elongated nectar spur. Its fruit takes the form of a follicle.

Several species are grown in gardens; Aquilegia vulgaris (European Columbine) is a traditional garden flower in the British Isles, and several of the species like Aquilegia canadensis that are native to North America are popular garden plants there. Numerous hybrids have also been developed as well. They are easy to propagate from seed. They are used as food plants by some Lepidoptera species including Cabbage Moth, Dot Moth, The Engrailed and Mouse Moth.

It has been suggested that the name Aquilegia comes from the Latin word "aquilinum," meaning "like an eagle." This is due to the talon like features of the spurs. Another hypothesis ties Aquilegia to the Latin for "water bearer" and would be attributable to the flower's capacity to store large amounts of nectar in its petals. The name columbine also has its origin in Latin. The word it comes from is columba which means "dove" or columbnus, which means "like a dove." Although the symbolism is dramatically different from that of the eagle, columbine were thus named because of how much the inverted flower resembled a clustering of doves.

Held in high esteem by Northern European populations, Aquilegia vulgaris (German: Akelei, Swedish:Akileija) was dedicated to the Norse goddess of love and fertility, Freya. According to mythology, Freya lived in a beautiful palace where love songs constantly played. Among her magical possessions was a coat of bird feathers that gave her the power to change into a falcon. 

Over time, Christianity adopted the symbolic associations of Aquilegia with the goddess Freya and love. Elements of the plants original mythical symbolism were transferred to the Virgin Mary. For example, a 16th century painting depicting the flight to Egypt includes a Columbine growing at the feetof Marys donkey. Later Christian symbolism relates the plants seven blossoming flowers to the seven cardinal virtues of Christianity: faith, hope, charity, justice, temperance, prudence and fortitude. The plants perfect geometrical composition (according to the Golden Mean) and its number of flowers and petals (3, 5, and 7) relate it to divinity in paintings of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Aquilegia is edible. The flowers are edible raw. Rich in nectar, they are sweet and delightful, they make a very attractive addition to mixed salads and can also be used as a thirst-quenching munch in the garden. The flowers are also used as a tea substitute.

Columbine was formerly employed in herbal medicine mainly for its antiscorbutic effect, but it has fallen out of favour and is little used nowadays. The leaves root and seed are astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, parasiticide. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of affections of the nervous system.

Some north american tribes boiled the entire plant and used the resulting liquid as a type of shampoo or hair wash. The seeds were also rubbed into the hair to control lice. The dried and crushed seed is used to kill external body parasites.


Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquilegia
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aquilegia+vulgaris

http://www.homeopathyschool.org/assets/pdf/Columbine_proving.pdf

 

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Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
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Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
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Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
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Aquilegia - Columbine
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Daylily - Hemerocallis
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Mistletoe - Viscum album
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Almond - Prunus amygdalus
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Pomegranate - Punica granatum
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Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
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Primula - Primerose
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Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
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