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
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘During her long life she gardened in Buckinghamshire and studied genetics at Cambridge before trying her hand at hybridising various flowers, including aquilegias.’
- ‘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.’
From medieval Latin, probably from Latin aquilegus ‘water-collecting’.
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