This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Erect branching perennial herbs, with ternately decomposed leaves, and large showy flowers. Sepals 5, regular, petaloid, deciduous. Petals concave, produced backward between the sepals into hollow spurs; stamens numerous, the inner ones reduced to staminodia. Carpels 5, sessile, many-ovuled, forming heads of follicles in fruit. [Latin, eagle, from the fancied resemblance of the spurs to the eagle's claws.]
A genus of beautiful plants, comprising about 50 species, distributed throughout the north temperate zone and extending into the mountains of Mexico. Besides the following, some 20 others occur in the western parts of North America. Type species: Aquilegia vulgaris L.
Spur strongly hooked; flowers white or purple, 1'-2' long.
Aquilegia canadensis L. Sp. Pl. 533. 1753. Aquilegia flaviflora Tenney, Am. Nat. 1: 389. 1867. Aquilegia canadensis flaviflora Britton, Bull. Torr. Club 15: 97. 1888. Aquilegia coccinea Small, Bull. N. Y. Bot. Gard. 1: 280.
Glabrous or somewhat pubescent, 1°-2° high, branching. Lower and basal leaves slender-peti-oled, biternate, 4'-6' broad, the ultimate leaflets sessile or on very short stalks, obovate, obtuse, cuneate, obtusely lobed and toothed, pale beneath; leaves of the upper part of the stem lobed or divided; flowers nodding, 1'-2' long, scarlet or rarely white, or yellow, the spurs nearly straight, 6" long, thickened at the end; stamens and styles long-exserted; head of fruit erect; follicles slightly spreading, about 8" long, tipped with a filiform beak of about the same length.
In rocky woods, Nova Scotia to the Northwest Territory, south to Florida and Texas. Ascends to 5000 ft. in Virginia. Consists of several races, differing in size and color of the flowers, and in pubescence. Also at high altitudes in the Rocky Mountains. Honeysuckle. Rock-lily. Bells. Meeting-houses. Jack-in-trousers. Cluckies. April-July.
Aquilegia brevistyla Hook. Fl. Bor. Am. 1: 24. 1829.
Slender, erect, sparingly pubescent, branching, 6'-18' high. Basal leaves 2-5' broad, long-petioled, biternate, the ultimate leaflets nearly sessile, broadly obovate, lobed and crenate; leaves of the stem few, nearly sessile, lobed or divided; flowers small, nodding, about as broad as long (8"), blue or purple; spurs short, incurved, about 2" long; stamens and short styles barely exserted; head of fruit erect; follicles slightly spreading, 8" long, pubescent, tipped with a subulate beak about 2" long.
South Dakota to Alaska and British Columbia. June-July.
Aquilegia vulgaris L. Sp. Pl. 533. 1753.
Stout, erect, pubescent or nearly glabrous, 1°-2° high, branching above. Basal and lower leaves 4'-6' broad, petioled, 2-3-ternate, the lateral divisions broadly obovate, obtuse, lobed and crenate, glaucous beneath, dark green above; the upper few, lobed or divided; flower 1 1/2'-2' broad and about as long, showy, blue, purple or white; spurs 3"-4" long, stout, strongly hooked; sepals spreading; stamens and styles hardly exserted.
Escaped from gardens into woods and fields, frequent in the Eastern and Middle States, in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Adventive or naturalized from Europe. Blue-bells. Lady's-shoes. Capon's-tail. Cock's-foot. Snapdragon. May-July.