Aquilegia: ornamental plants with lots of color

bell-shaped and lilac flowers

Do you know the world of aquilegia? This is a genus of plants that includes more than 60 species and is about plants that grow in high areas of the northern part of our planet.

All the species of this genus have an ornamental beauty that makes it widely used especially in British and European gardens and there are two of its species, such as the yarrow vulgaris and Yarrow caeruleathe most recognized and used for these purposes.

Aquilegia characteristics

The evolution of the petaloid organs in the reproductive axis is a remarkable innovation of angiosperms that has clearly played an important role in their diversification, especially in the context of pollinator attraction.

What makes the petaloid features so interesting is that appear to be a true innovation with no obvious precursor in existing gymnosperms.

Later, once the petals evolved, the more subtle changes in their shape and color have been important factors that allowed the species to attract and specialize in different pollinators.

From a genetic point of view, there are many aspects of the petaloid organs that we would like to understand in terms of macroevolutionary and microevolutionary processes.

How many times have the petaloid organs evolved? Is their genetic basis of development the same when the petaloid characteristics occur in different positions?How to control the production of petals and how are these genetic pathways altered in the context of pollinator changes?

These types of questions cover a multitude of different genetic pathways. and they can only be answered by analyzing a set of equally diverse genetic patterns.

Flowers usually have two types of organs: reproductive and sterile. While the reproductive organs are divided into stamens (androecium) and carpels (gynoecium), the sterile organs are collectively called the perianth.

The phenomenon of the petaloid organs is challenging, because can occur in any of these organsas well as in extra-floral leaf-shaped organs called bracts. If we restrict our consideration to the perianth, there are more distinctions.

In some taxa, like Magnolia or Tulipathe parts of the perianth are relatively similar in appearance (petaloid or not), in which case they are called tepals. More commonly, the perianth is bipartite with two or more distinct types of organs (in contrast to the unipartite condition of the tepals).

In these cases, the external organs, called sepalsare often adapted for protective functions, while the internal organs, called petals, are more specialized for a role in attracting pollinators.

Thus, the petals have a fixed position on the floral axis, in the second spiral between the sepals and the androecium. However, as mentioned above, petaloid features can occur in any of the perianth coils.

Main species

Aquilegia vulgaris

lovely bush with purple flowers

One of the most important and used plants within the genus is the Aquilegia vulgariswhich is a perennial plant that originates from the relatively high temperature areas of Asia and Europe and it is very easy to find them or for some people to recognize them under the names of the common Aguileña or Aguileño.

The stem of the columbine can be a little more than a meter long and present thin characteristics and has a white hairiness. This stem is usually erect and shows many ramifications.

From this stem is where the leaves emerge, which have a very particular dark green color, large basal and petiolate. These leaves have lobed – compound characteristics and that dark green color that they present can have certain blue details in some cases.

But without a doubt the most interesting thing in the description of the yarrow vulgaris and in fact one of the factors why this plant is used in all the warm places of the planet as an ornamental plant of great beauty, is its flowers.

Its flowers show a very special trumpet shape and it can show a single color or a composition of these, always standing out for its incredible beauty. These flowers will be seen sprouting from the floral stem, which is erect, reaching approximately 7 centimeters long.

They are a wide range of colors that can become part of these flowers, since in some cases they are usually composed of a single color and in others be multicolored. You can find in the different varieties of the same species shades that go from white, through bluish, red, yellow, orange, pink, brown, purple and lilac.

Flowering usually occurs during the beginning of summer, although premature cases of flowering are known between the last days of spring as well. They usually have a really fast growth rate and have a flowering that you can enjoy every year.

Blue aquilegia

flowering shrub of the Aquilegia caerulea plant

Another of the well-known members of the family of more than 60 species that make up the world of Aquilegias, is the specimen caereuleathat like all the rest of his family, they have an ornamental beauty for which they are often widely used in different gardens

This is one perennial plant that does not reach the same height as its sisterbut it is not that far away, since its stem can measure between about 20 and about 70 centimeters approximately.

Its leaves are presented in a green color that intensifies according to its maturity and what stands out the most, as with the rest, is the ornamental beauty that its flowers can present.

These flowers can be found in varied colors, which can range from a very particular pale blue and special for the eyes, to a white, also passing through certain shades that they can range from deep pink to pale yellow.

But it will not be only one of these colors that you see in this type of yarrowBut in some cases they may show a bicolor qualityshowing a different tonality on the sepals and on the petals.

What are their cares?

bright colored flowers of the Aquilegia vulgaris plant

In the case of wanting to cultivate aquilegia at home, you must take into account that it is a plant that is usually found outdoorss, since it needs a lot of luminosity.

You can receive this type of light in two ways, either from the front, that is, in direct sun exposurewithout this causing inconvenience, or also and more recommended, it can be located with partial shade.

If you want very healthy and colorful flowers that arise from these types of plants, they must have an approximate of four hours of light per day. That is why the plant does not usually develop in the best way in interior spaces, where the luminosity will not be necessary.

In the case of doing it this way, we will see how the stems and leaves show in a descending way and this has to do with a sadness that causes the plant the fact of not encountering a time of direct exposure to light on a daily basis.

There is no particular type of irrigation for the whole year of this type of AquilegiaBecause This will depend on the time in which we are and in the station through which we are passing.

In the event that we find ourselves at those times of the year when there are more temperatures and exposure to the sun is stronger, how can summer times bethe plant will require much more frequent watering than if we are in autumn or winter.

The ideal for these cases would be that get some way to detect the humidity in the soilto know how much water you need. This can be done professionally, with a soil moisture meter or craft, burying a wooden stick, digging next to the plant or weighing the pot.

The earth has to present a particular characteristic in its texture that could be loamy or sandy and this type of substrate, since it has a really important drainage, must be wet all the time. That is why it is so important to carry out humidity measurementso that it never becomes completely dry and its development is suspended.

Keeping soil moisture stable will have to do with factors including sun exposure, temperature, the humidity of the environment and the texture of the substrateto reach the state of greatest development of the plant.

Aquilegia: ornamental plants with lots of color

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