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U.S. Forest Service

Aquilegia Express: Red Columbines

Aquilegia canadensis, red columbine

The red columbine is the only columbine that occurs in eastern North America. Red columbine occurs east of the 100th meridian from Saskatchewan to Quebec south to Arkansas east to Georgia; with a disjunct population on the Edwards Plateau in Texas.

Aquilegia canadensis Aquilegia canadensis is critical food source for returning ruby-throated hummingbirds in spring. Photo by Larry Stritch.

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

Aquilegia canadensis ranges in height from 15 to 90 cm. The foliage is glaucous and the leaves are glabrous above and glabrous to pubescent below. The flowers are nodding. The sepals are red, 8 to 18 mm long, and spreading. The blades are pale yellow, 6 to 8 mm long. The spurs are red and straight, 20 to 25 mm long. The stamens extend beyond the blades.

Aquilegia canadensis is found growing in open or shaded woods and hanging gardens, usually in conjunction with seepage or other moisture.

Aquilegia canadensis Aquilegia canadensis occurring on a moist north-facing limestone cliff in West Virginia. Photo by Larry Stritch.

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