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Columbine Plant Facts and Information

Columbine plant: This article includes various aspects and information of columbine flowers.

Meaning of Columbine Name

Columbine is also used as a girl’s name. It means Dove (Columba in Latin). Aquilegia, the scientific (Latin) name of the columbines means Eagle. The name refers to the shape of the flowers; they somehow resemble the claws of an eagle.

Aquilegia Pests

Columbine flowers are very robust and are not often subjects to pests. But some pests can also affect columbine flowers and it is worthwhile to check the leaves for pest signs once in a while:

The most common pest that can harm columbine plants is the Leaf Miner. These insects mine their way through the body of the leaves and leave a typical off-white trail behind.
Remove the affected leaves to get rid of this pest.

Pristophora aquilegiae is commonly known as Aquilegia Sawfly, Columbine Sawfly and Grannies Bonnet Sawfly. The larvae of this wasp-like fly feeds on the leaves of columbine flowers. They can really be a huge pest and defoliate the plants. When they are done with a plant, only the stalks and the leaf veins remain.

The larvae are green and match the color of the leaves. They look like caterpillars but they are not. If you are not sure, count the pair of legs. Caterpillars have about 2 to 5 pairs whereas this larva has 6 pairs (false legs). They larvae grow about 1,5 cm long.

Check leaves in spring for eggs and small larvae. If you detect them early enough you can just pick them off. Otherwise you might consider using a general insecticidal contact soap. Use it before flowering, or else, you will kill all the good, hardworking, pollinating insects as well.

Aphids are small insects that harm a wide range of plant species. They suck fluids from the plants and leave deformed leaves and buds behind. They also produce a substance that is called honeydew. This sticky black substance covers the leave surfaces; this ugly layer is called sooty mold.
The aphids themselves are not really harmful to the plant; yet, they sometime transmit dangerous plan viruses. So, it is best to keep aphids under control.
Tip: Ladybugs and lacewings feed on aphids.

Other pests to mention are: Powdery Mildew, Fungi, and Southern Blight.


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