Botanical Wednesday: flowers for floodplains

Given the catastrophic flooding in Minnesota right now, I thought everyone would appreciate a summary of good flowers for the Minnesota floodplain, and a nice picture of a columbine.


  1. mepmep09 says

    I assume you wanted your second link to be something other than a boomerang, which it currently is…
    That’s a purty flower there.

  2. RFW says

    That’s not “a” columbine. That’s a very specific species of columbine, probably Aquilegia canadensis. One of the curiosities regarding columbines is that there is a very similarly colored species, Aquilegia formosa, found on the Pacific coast.

    From an evolutionary perspective, the genus Aquilegia is of some interest because the species seem to be completely interfertile. Seed strains you can buy at any dollar store, Walmart, or garden shop, such as the ‘Long-spurred Hybrids’ are very complex hybrids.

    Another garden flower genus of (mostly) interfertile species is Lupinus, from which the famous Russell lupines are derived.

    The Pacific Coast irises (genus Iris, Series Californicae) are also interfertile, the individual species separated by nothing more than impenetrable forests. With the settlement of the Pacific coast 150-200 ago by Europeans and the construction of roads and highways, the barriers to interbreeding have been removed sufficiently that some of the pure species are at risk of extinction due to hybridization. It goes without saying that the Pacific coast irises, in the hands of the plant breeders, have given rise to a wide variety of hybrids, some of exceptional beauty.

  3. mepmep09 says

    Fixed now, I see – ah yes, a feature of the Lady Bird Johnson* Wildflower Center. (*What a wonderful First Lady she was; Betty Ford and Michelle Obama were/are in that category too, making something good out of a “position” with no statutory authority attached to it.)

  4. ronsullivan says

    I’ll admit to a deep fondness for Pacific Coast Hybrid irises, which RFW refers to up there. I’ll also admit to fretting about the straight species of that taxon, as well as local populations of other California plants that are getting all McDonaldsized by CalTrans, roads in general, et cetera.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    In a previous life I lived in a beautiful house in Wyoming that was nearly surrounded by Columbines. Faithful, they were, pushing out of the cold soil early each spring and, with conscientious pinching off of fertilized blossoms, lasting until the inevitable frosts of autumn.

    Beautiful and so graceful in the breezes. Nodding and swaying eagerly, gracefully, playing in the air.

    And, oh, the hummingbirds! floating, now zooming, on the very same air, mutually sustaining, flower and bird, life in the high country, treats for my eyes.