Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC.
Western columbine, Crimson columbine, Scarlet columbine, Red columbine
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
An open-branched, 2-3 ft. perennial
with delicate, blue-green, lobed foliage and pendent, yellow and red, spurred flowers. Handsome red and yellow flowers hang at ends of branches above this bushy plant with several stems and many divided leaves. The flowers of this species are slightly smaller than those of A. eximia
comes from the Latin aquila
which means eagle
and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons. The species name formosa
, Latin for beautiful, aptly describes this large plant, especially when it has hundreds of lovely flowers nodding over it. There are other species with mostly red flowers, which also attract hummingbirds as pollinators. The nectar
was eaten as a candy by the Gitxsan and Wetsuweten peoples.
Image Gallery: 11 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
AK , CA , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY Canada: AB
, YT Native Distribution:
N. Baja CA to UT, n. to s. AK & w. Alt. Native Habitat:
Moist, open woods, banks & seeps; 4000-9000 ft. USDA Native Status: L48(N), AK(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist, rocky soils, but will grow in dry, nutrient poor soil.
Conditions Comments: This columbine readily maintains itself from seed.
Columbine attracts hummingbirds. Use Food:
was eaten as a candy by the Gitxsan and Wetsuweten peoples. The young leaves of variety truncata
were gathered before flowering, boiled, and eaten as greens by indigenous peoples of California. Conspicuous Flowers: