Aquilegia Express: Columbines

Four columbines.

“Sweet columbine, sweet columbine
Beneath the aspen and the pine
You seem a gift from heav’n above”

From a lyric by
Edgar MacMechen, 1922

In late winter, many of us wait in great anticipation of the coming spring. With each new spring, a frenzied burst of wildflowers entices us out into nature for yet another beautiful year of Celebrating Wildflowers.

One of the most exquisite and most beloved wildflowers is the columbine. The magnificent rock-loving columbine brightens our hearts in cool, hidden forest grottos, and lifts our spirit high to alpine meadows and glacial mountain lakes.

Locomotive and train cars: All aboard for the Aquilegia Express!

The Aquilegia Express is ready to leave the station. Join us as we travel back in time crossing the Bering land bridge, following the development of columbines, interacting with different habitats and pollinators, while viewing their many beautiful colors along the way. Final call!

All aboard!

Map of the Bering land bridgeNatural History
Our journey begins with Aquilegia's ancestors as they cross the Bering land bridge

A blue columbine: Aquilegia jonesiiBlue Columbines
Children of the “First Columbine”

A black-chinned hummingbird pollinating a yellow columbineThe Birds and Bees
Pollinators play an important role in columbine development and hybridization

A yellow columbine: Aquilegia flavescensYellow Columbines
Yellow, white, to pink and everything in between

Columbine flower partsThe Columbine Flower
Different shapes and colors are the result

A red columbine: Aquilegia eximiaRed Columbines
Red elfin flowers herald the coming of spring