garden grown

When my wife and I started the columbine book, I grew a lot of species from wild-collected seed, so that I could see them first hand. Not being much of a traveler (going to the store is pushing it, for me), this was the easy way out for me. I did try to talk some people into going to Afghanistan and Iran to look for the species described in Flora Iranica, but for some reason everyone I asked declined.

Most of the plants are gone from the garden now. There is a self-perpetuating stand of Aquilegia barnebyi in one of the dry gardens, A. grahamii (or a reasonable facsimile) in several troughs, and this little plant. It’s really little; the flowers are only half an inch long.

The peculiar thing about this is the straight spurs. They only show the tiniest bit of hooking at the tips. Hooked spurs are dominant in Aquilegia, and crosses between the species almost always result in hooked spurs, even if both parents have straight spurs.

I thought one of the parents might be Aquilegia saximontana, or laramiensis, but with a cross like that, I would expect hooked spurs. Occasionally a plant will appear with rosy spurs, but they’re always straight. It’s a mystery, and I’ll leave it at that.

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