Wild Columbine

Wild Columbine by erjohn1423
Wild Columbine, a photo by erjohn1423 on Flickr (all rights reserved).
Ed Rehbein of Beckley (website, email, resume) took this photo of wild columbine, one of my favorite wildflowers, on April 7, 2012 on the Little Blue Stone River in Summers County, WV.

The native perennial, a member of the buttercup family, blooms from April to June in these parts in the woods, on rocky ground and on open slopes.

Dr. Kathleen Shea (website, email ), Professor of Biology and Curator of Natural Lands at St. Olaf's College in Minnesota writes that one of the common names, Culverwort (from the Saxon word culver meaning pigeon and wyrt meaning plant) suggests how the flower resembles "a circle of pigeon heads."

She has a wealth of other information on this wildflower and others at the Natural Lands website.  To confirm which plants are also native to our region, you can cross reference Shea's site with Common Summer Wildflowers of West Virginia which Norma Jean Venable (bio) compiled with the help of the late William N. Grafton (bio) when they were both Extension Specialists for WVU.