Columbine is an attractive and familiar plant common to many gardens. Some of these garden varieties are almost identical to the wild form and it is often impossible to tell if a population is truly native and wild or derived from garden escapes. Our seed comes from plants in a location some distance from any habitation where the species has been known for many decades.
Columbine is a fairly tall plant (up to 1m) and has purplish blue flowers made up of five petals with hooked spurs. Flowering takes place from May to July. The bright green leaves are made up of three leaflets and are borne on separate stems to the flowers.
Columbine is a medium to tall, long lived native perennial found on a range of damp, calcareous soils including cliffs, meadows and wasteland, but is most commonly associated with woodland glades and rides. Colonisation in the wild by garden plants is common and has obscured both the population trends and distribution of the native plant.
The seed requires a period of chilling before germinating so it should be sown in late summer or autumn. If sown in a seed tray and then planted out, Columbine can tolerate a wide range of soil types and conditions. However, if it is to persist for more than one generation or if you are going to sow directly onto the soil then it will probably do best on sites that are moist, calcareous and in partial shade.