Aquilegia Express: Yellow Columbines

Aquilegia chaplinei, Chaplin’s columbine

Chaplin’s columbine is endemic to the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico and Texas.

Aquilegia chaplinei
Aquilegia chaplinei is one of several columbines in North America to evolve an entirely yellow flower. Photo by G.A. Cooper, Smithsonian Institution.

Map of the range of Aquilegia chaplinei in North America.
Range map of Aquilegia chaplinei. Courtesy of Flora of North America.

Aquilegia chaplinei ranges in height from 20 to 50 cm. The foliage is glaucous and the leaves are glabrous to pubescent. The flowers are suberect. The sepals are yellow, 10 to 18 mm long, and perpendicular. The blades are pale yellow, 8 to 10 mm long. The spurs are yellow, 30 to 40 mm long, and straight. The stamens extend beyond the blade.

Aquilegia chaplinei is found growing along streams, rocks and other areas where the ground is moist. In general, a very arid environment characterizes the Guadalupe Mountains.

Aquilegia chaplinei growing in a spring fed rill.
Aquilegia chaplinei growing in a spring fed rill. Photo by G.A. Cooper, Smithsonian Institution.

Aquilegia chaplinei growing as a hanging garden.
Aquilegia chaplinei growing as a hanging garden where a seep comes out of a crack in the rock. Photo by G.A. Cooper, Smithsonian Institution.

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