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Aquilegia canadensis - Native Columbine
Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadensis
Common Name: Native Columbine
Thomas Mann Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's horticulturally astute son-in-law, observed the native or American columbine blooming at Monticello on April 30, 1791, and the species can still be found growing wild at Monticello today.1 This ornamental flower was introduced to Europe and documented in British gardens by the 1640s.2 In the late 1700s, the Reverend John Banister recorded this species in Virginia, as did John Clayton in the 1750s.3 Bernard McMahon listed seeds for this columbine in his Broadside Catalogue (c. 1800).
This columbine is a hardy, spring-flowering North American perennial with scarlet and yellow flowers appearing on tall, delicate stems above attractive, medium green foliage.
- Peggy Cornett, n.d.
- Leighton, Ann. American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986.
- McMahon, Bernard. The American Gardener's Calendar, 1806. Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1997. See pp. 151, 291, and 292.
- Seeds available for purchase at Monticello Museum Shop.
- Stuart, David and James Sutherland. Plants from the Past: Old Flowers for New Gardens. London: Penguin Books, 1989.
- Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants.
- 1. Randolph to Jefferson, April 30, 1791, in PTJ, 20:330. Transcription available at Founders Online. See also Edwin M. Betts, Hazlehurst Bolton Perkins, and Peter J. Hatch, Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986), 53-54, and Lawrence D. Griffith, Flowers and Herbs of Early America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 174.
- 2. Joan Parry Dutton, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979), 99. See also Griffith, Flowers and Herbs, 174, and Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 170.
- 3. Adams, Restoring American Gardens, 174.