This genus deserves its lofty names, which mean “eagle” and “dove,” because its intricate flowers have been said to resemble birds in flight. Beyond the symbolism of the flowers, the finely textured, widely varied species possess a gracefulness that is likely to carry you to heights of enjoyment. Whether delicate dwarfs or bold, long-spurred varieties, Columbines are characterized by fernlike three-lobed leaves. They are best suited for naturalizing in a semishaded woodland, but the smaller species will thrive in a rock garden with some shade.
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