Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Hinckley's golden columbine, Yellow columbine, Hinckley columbine, Capote columbine

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine)
Marcus, Joseph A.
Hinckley columbine is currently considered a variety of Aquilegia chrysantha. Its diagnostic features are its petal blades, which are shorter but not narrower than in other varieties of its species at 2 cm long and 16 mm wide, and its tendency to have twice-divided leaves, fewer than the three divisions of other varieties of A. chrysantha. Its foliage is as fern-like and delicate as that of other columbines, and its canary yellow flowers are prominent and spurred. It grows to three and a half feet tall and is endemic to a single site: Capote Falls in the Sierra Vieja Mountains of Presidio County, Texas.

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana is one of many yellow columbines popular in the nursery trade, but it is truly rare in the wild, native only to a single waterfall in far west Texas. Like other golden columbines, it is valued for its shade tolerance, attractive foliage, and clear yellow flowers. Columbines are short-lived perennials that reseed to replace mother plants where seed is allowed to mature and drop. They also hybridize freely between species and varieties, so plants sold as yellow columbine or golden columbine likely contain genetic material from varied sources.

The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Semi-evergreen
Leaf Shape: Obovate
Leaf Venation: Palmate
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Lobed
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Monoecious
Leaf: Glaucous green
Flower: Sepals 17 mm wide. Petals 2 cm long petal blades 16 mm wide.
Fruit: Green to dark gray follicles, black seeds 13-18 mm follicles, 2 mm seeds
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May


Native Distribution: Capote Falls in the Sierra Vieja Mountains in Presidio County in west Texas
Native Habitat: Moist places beside a waterfall

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained, slightly acid soils. Will grow in somewhat alkaline soil.
Conditions Comments: Popular and gorgeous spring bloomer when given preferred growing conditions of good, well-drained soil, part shade, and adequate moisture. Though they tolerate some heat, Southwestern yellow columbines become susceptible to spider mites and aphids in very hot, arid conditions.


Use Ornamental: Good for spring color in shade gardens, with semi-evergreen foliage decorative much of the year
Use Wildlife: Attracts moths, butterflies, and bees.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbine Duskywing
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Columbine Duskywing
(Erynnis lucilius)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2010-09-08