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U.S. Forest Service

Aquilegia Express: Red Columbines

Aquilegia desertorum, desert columbine

The desert columbine is found in is found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Aquilegia desertorum Aquilegia desertorum is one of many columbines to develop a red and yellow coloration to take advantage of the hummingbirds present in the southwestern United States. Photo by Max Lichter.

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

Aquilegia desertorum ranges in height from 15 to 30 cm. The foliage is glaucous and the leaves are glabrous above and glabrous to pubescent below. The flowers are nodding. The sepals are red with the tips sometimes becoming yellowish green, 10 mm long and spreading. The blades are yellow or red and yellow, 5 mm long. The spurs are red, broad at the base, very narrow at the tip, and are straight. The stamens extend beyond the blades.

Aquilegia desertorum is found growing at high elevations on rocky slopes where seepage or other moisture is present.

Aquilegia desertorum plant Aquilegia desertorum growing as a hanging garden where a seep comes out of a crack in the rock. Photo by Max Lichter.

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