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U.S. Forest Service

Aquilegia Express: Blue Columbines

Children of the “First Columbine,” the blue flowered columbines of North America trace their ancestry back in time and space. The Bering land bridge provided their “fore-flowers” a route into a new land providing a variety of habitats, where over time they evolved to the many species of columbines that exist in North America today.

The five deep blue flowered columbines occur on our national forests in the high elevations of the western mountains. A gentle walk into forest openings of the Black Hills reveals a survivor of glacial times. Exploring the rarified mountain air of the Rocky Mountains and Intermountain West leads us to where the other four of these precious gems occur.

Yellow Columbines…