Here is a preview of the off-the-rails blooming occurring on The National Museum of Transportation’s grounds Spring 2020. Golden Alexander and Columbine are on full display. We know we cannot be together with our cherished guests just yet, but hope you will be able to locate some of these plants in your neighborhood, park, or other green space you visit.

Golden Alexander – Zizia aurea

The yellow-flowered Golden Alexander hosts larvae of several Swallowtails and also attracts Mining bees, Azure butterflies and various beetles.

Columbine – Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine produces showy pink-red blossoms. Native American Omaha and Ponca men rubbed pulverized seeds on their palms as a love potion before shaking hands with a loved one. This practice also was supposed to make them more persuasive when speaking to a council.

The root was chewed or taken as a weak tea for diarrhea, stomach troubles, uterine bleeding, and as a diuretic. The root, seeds, and probably the leaves of some species are acrid and may be used raw for a stimulating poultice.

Columbine is pollinated by hummingbirds, moths, and butterflies which all have long tongues in order to reach the nectar. It serves as larval food for Dusky wing butterflies.