Curious - what’s the prevalence in nature of Aquilegia that don’t have spurs? I’ve seen the double-flowered ones they have at the garden centers but I always assumed those were cultivated. I saw a few on the side of a mountain here in Colorado the other day, but have never seen any others like it in nature (flower kind of looked like a wild clematis but the leaves & stems were Aquilegia for sure). Google brings up an article about how a genetic mutation can cause the absence of spurs. Anyone seen a wild Columbine with no spurs, or know anything more on the topic?
This year I had flowers with spurs and without spurs on the same plant (Aquilegia vulgaris)
Spurless forms of Aquilegia vulgaris (now sometimes referred to as the ‘Nora Barlow’-type) were reportedly noted in European herbals as early as the seventeeth century, presumably a natural variation. These types do come true from seed in the garden, at least in part (I haven’t intentionally grown batches of seed to observe what proportion of seedlings may be spurless, if not all). Aquilegia are well known to be very “promiscuous” - that is, prone to hybridization - so perhaps depending how remote from sources of cultivation this sighting was, it may be a mixing of genes from cultivated plants(?)… or a natural variation, if all else seemed to match the characteristics of whatever native species are in that area. (I haven’t noted this feature as yet in the wild in my area with the native species here.)
Interesting the variation that can happen, even on a single plant! This particular “colony” was on the side of a 4x4 trail in a remote area, far from maintained roads and properties. All were spur-less and there were multiple plants. Since they self-sow, maybe they just kept reproducing that way.
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