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Colorado blue columbine


Aquilegia coerulea


Rocky mountain columbine

Plant family

Buttercup (Ranunculaceae)

Plant group

Wildflowers and Herbs

Colorado blue columbine is a short-lived showy herbaceous perennial native to the Rocky Mountains region of the United States that stands between 1 and 3 feet tall.
151 reports

Identification hints

Colorado blue columbine plants have showy flowers that are typically white and blue with long spurs on the back of the flower that contain nectar for pollinators. The leaves of Colorado blue columbine leaves are deeply cut and look similar to meadow rue (Thalictrum) or clover.

Did you know?

Aquilegia is the Latin term for eagle; the five flower spurs of this plant resemble eagle talons. People of the Gosivte tribe chewed the seeds and made a tea from the roots of Colorado blue columbine as a treatment for abdominal pains. Colorado blue columbine is also the state flower of Colorado, whose state song also happens to be "Where the Columbines Grow" (A.J. Fynn, 1915).
Arizona , Colorado , Idaho , Montana , New Mexico , Nevada , South Dakota , Utah , Wyoming
Colorado blue columbine grows in the Rocky Mountains of North America particularly between 2,100 to 3,700 m (6,900 to 12,100 ft). You can find Colorado blue columbine in moist, shady areas including woodlands and mountain meadows with talus and rocky soils.
Colorado blue columbine has smooth, light-green leaves with lobed and deeply-cleft leaflets.
The flowers of Colorado blue columbine are erect, with sepals and petals in contrasting colors, typically blue, white, pink or pale yellow. Flowers have five showy petal-like sepals that extend beyond the true petals and look pointed and star-like. Five smaller often white petals that are spatulate in shape and have long spurs that extend out the back of the flower and contain nectar for pollinators. The color and size of different floral organs vary throughout the geographic range of this species likely due to different dominant pollinators across the species' distribution.
Five, brown, clustered follicles (a dry capsule containing seeds) appear star-like. There are many seeds inside that will be released when the follicle opens.
Bloom Time
Colorado blue columbine typically blooms between June and August.

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