Aquilegia vulgaris 'William Guiness'
Common Name: columbine
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Ranunculaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Dark purple and white
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except heavy, poorly drained ones. Prefers rich, moist soils with light to moderate shade. Remove flowering stems after bloom to encourage additional bloom. Keep soils uniformly moist after bloom to prolong attractive foliage appearance. When foliage depreciates, plants may be cut to the ground. 'William Guiness' plants may be grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden under optimum growing conditions. However, different varieties of columbine may cross-pollinate in the garden producing seed that is at variance with either or both parents.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Aquilegia vulgaris knows as columbine (also commonly called European crowfoot and granny's bonnet) is native to Europe. It has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of eastern North America. It is a bushy, clump-forming perennial that typically grows in a mound of thin, branching, leafy stems to 1.5-3' tall. It is noted for its spring bloom (April-May in St. Louis) of blue to violet flowers with spreading sepals and short-hooked spurs. Biternate, medium green, basal leaves are glabrous above and glaucous beneath. Upper leaves are divided into lobed leaflets that are usually three-lobed at the tips. Many different cultivars are available in commerce, featuring flowers that are single or double and short-spurred or spurless, in a variety of colors ranging from blue to violet to white to pink to red.

Genus name comes from the Latin word for eagle (aquila) in reference to the talon like spurs on most flowers.

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word meaning common.

Columbine comes from the Latin word columba meaning dove-like.

Common name of granny's bonnet is in reference to the spreading bonnet-like appearance of the flower petals.

'William Guiness' is a very short-spurred columbine most noted for its large, nodding, bicolored flowers which are dark purple with contrasting white on the upper half of the sepals. It is a bushy, clump-forming perennial that typically grows 24-30" tall. Blooms in spring. Biternate, almost fern-like, medium green foliage is somewhat suggestive of meadow rue (Thalictrum). 'William Guiness' is considered by some references to be synonymous with A. v. 'Magpie'.

Problems

Susceptible to leaf miner. Foliage usually declines by mid-summer at which point it should be cut to the ground.

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens, open shade gardens, woodland gardens or naturalized areas. Also a good selection for a hummingbird garden. Continue to water plants after bloom to enjoy the ground cover effect of the foliage.