Plants

Discover the Aquilegia

All the species of this genus have an ornamental beauty that makes it widely used especially in British and European gardens and two of its species, such as Aquilea vulgaris and Aquilea caerulea, are the most recognized and used for these purposes.

Aquilegia characteristics

The evolution of the petaloid organs in the reproductive axis is a remarkable innovation of angiosperms that has clearly played an important role in their diversification, especially in the context of the attraction of pollinators.

What makes the petaloid features so interesting is that they appear to be a true innovation with no obvious precursor in existing gymnosperms.

Later, once the petals evolved, the more subtle changes in their shape and color have been important factors that allowed the species to attract and specialize in different pollinators.

From a genetic point of view, there are many aspects of the petaloid organs that we would like to understand in terms of macroevolutionary and microevolutionary processes.

How many times have the petaloid organs evolved? Is their genetic basis for development the same when the petaloid characteristics occur in different positions? How is the production of petals controlled and how are these genetic pathways altered in the context of the pollinator changes?

These types of questions cover a multitude of different genetic pathways and can only be answered by analyzing a set of equally diverse genetic patterns.

Flowers usually have two types of organs: reproductive and sterile. While the reproductive organs are divided into stamens (androecium) and carpels (gynoecium), the sterile organs are collectively called the perianth.

The phenomenon of petaloid organs is challenging, because it can occur in any of these organs, as well as in extra-floral, leaf-shaped organs called bracts. If we restrict our consideration to the perianth, there are more distinctions.

In some taxa, such as Magnolia or Tulipa, the parts of the perianth are relatively similar in appearance (petaloid or not), in which case they are called tepals. More commonly, the perianth is bipartite with two or more distinct types of organs (in contrast to the unipartite condition of the tepals).

In these cases, the external organs, called sepals, are often adapted for protective functions, while the internal organs, called petals, are more specialized for a role in attracting pollinators.

Thus, the petals have a fixed position on the floral axis, on the second spiral between the sepals and the androecium. However, as mentioned above, petaloid features can occur in any of the perianth coils.

Main species

Aquilegia vulgaris

One of the most important and used plants within the genus is the Aquilegia vulgaris, which is a perennial plant that has its origin in the areas of relatively high temperatures of Asia and Europe and is very easy to find or that some people recognize under the names of common Aguileña or Aguileño.

The stalk of the columbine can measure a little more than a meter long and present thin characteristics and has a white hairiness. This stem is usually erect and shows many ramifications.

This stem is where the leaves emerge, which have a very particular dark green color, large basal and petiolate. These leaves have lobed-compound characteristics and that dark green color they present can have certain blue details in some cases.

But undoubtedly the most interesting thing in the description of Aquilea vulgaris and in fact one of the factors why this plant is used in all the warm places of the planet as an ornamental plant of great beauty, is its flowers.

Its flowers show a very special trumpet shape and can show a single color or a composition of these, always standing out for its incredible beauty. These flowers will be seen to sprout from the floral stem, which is erect, reaching approximately 7 centimeters long.

There are a wide range of colors that can become part of these flowers, since in some cases they are usually composed of a single color and in others they are multicolored. You can find in the different varieties of the same species tones that go from white, through bluish, red, yellow, orange, pink, brown, purple and lilac.

Flowering usually occurs during the beginning of summer, although premature cases of flowering are known between the last days of spring as well. They tend to have a really fast growth rate and have a flowering that you can enjoy every year.

Aquilegia caerulea

Another of the well-known members of the family of more than 60 species that make up the world of Aquilegias, is the caereulea specimen, which, like all the rest of its family, has an ornamental beauty for which they are often widely used. in different gardens

This is a perennial plant that does not reach the same height as its sister, but it is not so far away, since its stem can measure between approximately 20 and 70 centimeters.

Its leaves are of a green color that intensifies according to their maturity and what stands out the most, as with the rest, is the ornamental beauty that its flowers can present.

These flowers can be found in various colors, which can range from a very particular pale blue and special for the eyes, to white, also passing through certain shades that can range from an intense pink to a pale yellow.

But it will not only be one of these colors that you see in this type of yarrow, but in some cases they may show a bicolor quality, showing a different tonality in the sepals and petals.

What are their cares?

In the case of wanting to grow aquilegia at home, you should take into account that it is a plant that is usually found outdoors, since it needs a large amount of light.

You can receive this type of light in two ways, either from the front, that is, in direct exposure to the sun, without this causing inconvenience, or also and more recommended, it can be located with partial shade.

If you want very healthy and colorful flowers that arise from these types of plants, they should have approximately four hours of light per day. That is why the plant does not usually develop in the best way indoors, where the brightness will not be as necessary.

In the case of doing it this way, we will see how the stems and leaves show in a descending way and this has to do with a sadness that causes the plant the fact of not encountering a time of direct exposure to light to diary.

There is no particular type of irrigation for the whole year of this type of Aquilegia, as this will depend on the time in which we are and the season through which we are passing.

In the event that we find ourselves at those times of the year when there are more temperatures and sun exposure is stronger, such as the summer seasons, the plant will require much more frequent watering than if we are at times fall or winter.

The ideal thing for these cases would be that you get some way of detecting the humidity that the soil has, to know how much water it needs. This can be done professionally, with a soil moisture meter or craft, burying a wooden stick, digging next to the plant or weighing the pot.

The earth has to present a particular characteristic in its texture that could be loamy or sandy and this type of substrate, having a really important drainage, should be wet all the time. That is why it is so important to carry out the humidity measurement, so that it never becomes completely dry and its development is suspended.

Keeping soil moisture stable will have to do with factors including exposure to the sun, temperature, ambient humidity and the texture of the substrate, to reach the stage of further development of the plant.

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