One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant of the buttercup family, which bears showy flowers with backward-pointing spurs. Native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, it is widely grown in gardens.
Genus Aquilegia, family Ranunculaceae. See also columbine
- ‘However it has helped me decide how to replant the somewhat shady, sheltered bed on one side of my garden: lots of hellebores, aquilegia, ferns, and variegated ivy creeping up the wall of my neighbour's extension wall.’
- ‘During her long life she gardened in Buckinghamshire and studied genetics at Cambridge before trying her hand at hybridising various flowers, including aquilegias.’
- ‘The March before last I bought and planted two specimens of what I thought was an aquilegia I'd admired at the Chelsea Flower Show.’
- ‘Buy seed from reputable seed companies if particular varieties or species are required as aquilegia hybridise easily and may not grow true from seed collected in the garden.’
- ‘I have beds full of wild strawberries at Brockhole and there are ferns and aquilegias elsewhere in the garden that I can transplant into the hedge.’
From medieval Latin, probably from Latin aquilegus ‘water-collecting’.
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