When I was young (NE Iowa), my grandmother had this plant growing in her back yard. She had many reasons for it. One was its beauty, of course, and it was prolific enough to last year after year. Another was that it lured hummingbirds. They were made, I think, to reach down into the flower for the sweet liquid in the ends of the bulbs. We children used to gather the flowers and bite the ends off to get that rich, sweet flavor.
Which brings me to my question. Grandma always called the plant 'honeysuckle.' I know there are a hundred varieties of honeysuckle (fam. Aquilegia), but is 'honeysuckle' considered an applicable name for columbine? All my life, if someone asked my to draw a picture of a honeysuckle, this columbine pictured is what I would have attempted to draw. Was Granny mistaken? Is the usage common?
Oh, I guarantee that the plant you pictured was the same one my Grandmother had. I've had two other folks from the same general area email me that their grandmothers called it the same thing! Must be an 'area of the country' thing!
Might be. We had a wild plant that looked exactly like an orange azalea, and it was called wild honeysuckle. I was back in the mountains in June and took this picture of it. It grew everywhere, and i think it is in the same family as the azalea...but my family called it wild honeysuckle.