|Aquilegia formosa, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011 |
Now let me tell you a bit about the fascinating wildflower.
Aquilegia comes from the Latin word aquil, meaning eagle, referring to the shape of the petals. Formosa means beautiful. Indeed, our native columbine fits the descriptive epithet. The common name, columbine, stems from the Latin word, columbina, meaning dove-like. The family name for this plant is Ranunculaceae, and, yes, I have trouble pronouncing it as well!
Crimson Columbine, Western Columbine, or ambiguously, "Red Columbine" is a common and attractive wildflower native to western North America, from Alaska to Baja California, and eastward to Montana and Wyoming. There is also an eastern form which some of you may be familiar with. Technically, the red or orange spreading outer parts of the flower are sepals, and the yellow inner parts are the true petals. The petals bear spurs that attract the plant's pollinators, the Sphinx moths. Hummingbirds are also attracted to it in gardens.
The flowers are edible, with a sweet taste—though the seeds can be fatal if eaten, and most parts of the plant contain cyanogenic glycosides. As for these seeds, I found another researcher who stated that "North American tribal peoples used the roots and leaves medicinally. Leaves were chewed then used to rub bee-stings or small wounds. A tonic was prepared for sore throat. The seeds were chewed to relieve stomach upset. Mashed roots were rubbed on aching joints by the elderly. Maybe the Native Peoples were not affected by the cyanogenic glycosides (whatever they might be!). Anyway, The flowers are edible as a decorative salad garnish, having a sweet nectar at the base of the flower (in the knobs of the spurs) which akin to honeysuckle often entices children to pick them and suck at the back of the flower like you do with honeysuckle.
One of my favourite comments found during research was the following: "Crushed seeds were traditionally rubbed on the skin as a mild perfume as well as a flea and louse repellent." Yuck! More importantly, scientists, especially Polish, but some Chinese as well, have had promising results with this plants in their ongoing search for medicinal alkaloids.
Personally, I draw them because I find that they have a certain elegance which I keep trying to capture through art. For more information, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquilegia_formosa
Margaret, the slightly more than 5 ft. tall baby!
Margaret is a Rothschild giraffe born in a zoo in the U.K. She was a few weeks early and undersized for a baby giraffe at the time these photos were taken. For some reason she was unable to suckle her mother -- she was her mother's first born which may have something to do with it although zoo babies and mothers often have these sorts of problems -- probably something is missing that would be found in the wild. Consequently, she was being hand-raised by the zoo staff. Below are a series of photos showing the often repeated process of feeding Margaret.
You may have already seen these as they seem to be circulating on the Internet again -- I saw them for the first time back in 2009 or early 2010, so I guess they have been around for a while. This means that Margaret is probably a full-grown giraffe by now! Anyway, if you have seen them previously, just prepare yourself to enjoy seeing them again!
|Margaret and her best friend|
|Margaret reaching for the bottle|
|Licking those lips!|
|A thank you kiss from Margaret|
|Suki's favourite position unless|
she is hungry!
|In-bread cat -- see what happens with too much in-breading!!|
This cute photo was put on Facebook by an acquaintance of mine. I love the silly pun but feel sorry for the cat who is having to endure such foolishness in order to make her humans happy!
May the peace of God be with us all.