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 trim dwarfs or fancy long-spurred varieties, Columbines are characterized by fern-like 3-lobed leaves. They are best suited for naturalizing in a woodland with dappled light, however the smaller species will thrive in a partially shaded rock garden.
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