Aquilegia Express: Yellow Columbines

Aquilegia flavescens, yellow columbine

The yellow columbine occurs in British Columbia and Alberta south into eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, northwestern Wyoming, and eastern Utah.

Aquilegia flavescens flower
The totally yellow flowered form is the most commonly encountered variety of yellow columbine. Photo by Wayne Padgett.

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

Aquilegia flavescens ranges in height from 20 to 70 cm. The foliage is glabrous or pilose; the stems are glandular pubescent and the leaves are green above and glaucous below. The flowers are nodding. The sepals are yellow, to sometimes-yellowish pink or raspberry pink, 12 to 20 mm long and reflexed. The blades are white to cream, 7 to 10 mm long. The spurs are yellow to raspberry pink, slightly curved and 10 to 20 mm long. The stamens extend beyond the blades.

Aquilegia flavescens var. rubicunda flowers.
This flower is the less commonly encountered raspberry pink, often referred to as Aquilegia flavescens var. rubicunda. Photo by Bob Thompson.

Aquilegia flavescens var. rubicunda flowers.
Yellow columbine (Aquilegia flavescens var. rubicunda) in fruit, called a follicle. The follicle will split along its length releasing small, glistening, black seeds. In almost all species of columbine, the follicle is upright, although the flower may have been nodding. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Aquilegia flavescens is found growing in moist mountain meadows and rocky alpine slopes.

Aquilegia flavescens var flavescens flowers.
Yellow columbine (Aquilegia flavescens var. flavescens) can be found in beautiful flower-filled mountain meadows. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

Aquilegia flavescens flowers.
Yellow columbine (Aquilegia flavescens var. rubicunda) can be found on rocky slopes where adequate moisture occurs in the soil. Photo by Teresa Prendusi.

For More Information