Red and yellow.
Flowers: terminal; solitary; nodding from thread-like flower-stalks. Calyx: of five, red, ovate sepals. Corolla: of five, united, tubular, spurred petals; red on the outside and within yellow. Stamens: numerous; projecting. Pistils: five; the styles very slender. Leaves: the lower ones on petioles and divided twice, or thrice into lobed leaflets; the upper ones nearly sessile, entire or lobed. Stem: twelve to eighteen inches high; branching; glaucous.
"Is it not afraid ?" asked a little child who saw the columbine as it was bent and swayed by the wind over a rocky cliff, and appeared to cling so lightly to the crumbled soil. "No," was the answer, "the columbine has a fearless heart and a spirited courage: it is never afraid."
Recently we have been hearing considerable about its patriotism; and it has been shown to us as "the peace that makes for power, and the power that makes for peace." This significance is found in the resemblance of various parts of the flower to an eagle and a dove. The generic name aquilegia, or in Latin aquila, an eagle, is from the curved spurs that in certain forms of the flower suggest the bird's five talons. Columbine, or columba, was chosen for it because in another position can be seen a ring of doves, or two turtle doves, according to one's clearness of vision. In our childhood we invariably see the latter.
"O columbine, open your folded wrapper, Where two twin turtle doves dwell !"
Looking at the front view of the flower we can picture a five-rayed star. A single nectarie imitates a liberty cap; and in the long spurred forms we have the horn of plenty. Some one of its species can be found throughout the country; and it blooms in-all of our national colours, red, white and blue. The plant is indigenous to our soil and one that is in no sense a weed. To be used for decorative designs it is also peculiarly well adapted.
And if authorities do differ with each other a little about the exact significance of these emblems, we do not mind very much; because we have them all in the imagination, where we hold fast to them as part of this beautiful flower.
A. truncata, (Plate LXXVIII.) is another red and yellow variety which has petals as though cut off at the top, or truncate. It is extremely variable in size and foliage; but is firm in its preference for shaded places, often by streams.
A. ccerulca, (Plate LXXVIII.) or the long-spurred columbine, is an exquisite flower. It is a native of the Rocky Mountains, where on shady slopes it blooms abundantly. The illustration shows it in its blue gown: it is also fond of white and occasionally pinkish; but never red. The ovate sepals with their slender spurs are spreading and double the length of the round lighter-coloured petals with which they alternate. In size it is quite three inches broad. The beauty of the species has encouraged enthusiastic horticulturists to introduce it into gardens.
"So did the maidens with their flowers entwine The scented white, the blue and flesh-like Columbine." - Brown.