Firstly, a big thankyou to posty57 (Barry) for his User Award on my Torch Aloe, and also for all your kind comments and votes
Believe it or not, it was very sunny when the columbines (aquilegia) appeared in my garden, as well as windy, so I just had to do my best. These were inherited from the previous owner, and are the wild variety, which only have five petals.
My title is a name for the plant in parts of Austria, and it's sheer coincidence that there are 5 flowers here, because the name is derived from the Latin word "columba" which means "like a dove", due to the resemblance of the inverted flower to five doves clustered together. I hope you can see that in my picture.
Each of its five petals terminate in an incurved hornlike spur, and its the exquisite shape of their trademark "spurs" that have given them numerous associations with birds.
The genus name Aquilegia derives from the Latin word for eagle (aquila), because the petals are said to resemble the outstretched sharp pointed talons of an eagle or hawk.
Formerly the columbine was known as Culverwort, the Saxon word "culfre" meaning a pigeon, the flowers giving the appearance of a bunch of pigeons.
It is also said to resemble a jester's five-pronged cap and bells, and so the flower was said to relate to foolishness or folly. Giving a woman a columbine flower was considered bad luck, and in the 17th century it was considered highly inappropriate to give to a young woman because of its sexual connotations.
Much symbolism has been preserved that links the flower to sexuality, love, seduction and even infidelity. In1588, it was suggested that crushed columbine seeds be applied to a groom's palms in order to arouse the bride. A tea made from the roots was believed to cure impotence, and infertility was abated by stuffing the plant into the mattress with the straw. Columbine was first dedicated to Freya, the Norse patron goddess of love and fertility.
Shakespeare uses columbine in his plays, Love's Labour Lost and Hamlet, in which the tragically mad Ophelia collects columbine, and here it is taken as a symbol of ingratitude and infidelity.
Other meanings in Christianity include innocence, the Holy Spirit, faith, hope, charity, justice, temperance and prudence.
Congratulations if you have read so far, I love the folklore of plants.
Tags: Flowers and plants
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