Aquilegia Express: Blue Columbines
Aquilegia coerulea, Colorado blue columbine
The Colorado blue columbine occurs in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, southeast Idaho, extreme southern Montana, Utah, northwest Nevada, and northern Arizona.
Aquilegia coerulea ranges in height from 15 to 90 cm. The foliage is green not glaucous and the leaves are glabrous above and glabrous to pubescent below. The flowers are erect and white, cream, blue, and sometimes pinkish white. The sepals are blue, pale blue to white, 20 to 40 mm long and spreading to perpendicular. The blades are white rarely blue, 15 to 25 mm long. The spurs are blue, white, or whitish pink, 30 to 45 mm long and spreading. A variety of Colorado blue columbine is spurless.
Aquilegia coerulea is found growing in subalpine meadows, open woods, and near streams in the mountains.
Springtime in the Rocky Mountains
Below are three photos of springtime in the Rocky Mountains, where the Colorado blue columbine is a definite standout in subalpine meadows.