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, any plant of the genus Aquilegia, temperate-zone perennials of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), popular both as wildflowers and as garden flowers. Columbines have delicate and attractive foliage and flower petals with long spurs that secrete nectar.
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a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the family Ranunculaceae. The flowers have five large brightly colored sepals and five funnel-shaped petals extended forward into a spur. The petals are blue, violet, or sometimes red, pink, or white. The fruit is an aggregate follicle. There are about 75 known species in the temperate zone of Europe, Asia, and America. The plants of the genus Aquilegia grow on forest edges, along river valleys, and in mountains. In the USSR there are about 20 species. Some species of Aquilegia have long been grown in gardens and have yielded many valuable forms and interspecific hybrids; long-spur hybrids are especially valued. A widely distributed species is the columbine (A. vulgaris), of which there are varieties with simple and double flowers. The species A. glandulosa is valued as an ornament for its attractive large light-blue flowers with white centers.