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Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Aquilegia flavescens S. Wats.
Yellow mountain columbine, Yellow columbine, Golden columbine
USDA Symbol: aqfl
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Delicate, mainly basal leaves, 3-parted and 2-3 times lobed, subtend the nodding, slender-spurred, yellow flowers of this perennial. Floral spurs incurved to form hooks. The plant may be simple-stemmed or branched and rises 8-30 in. in height. A bushy, yellow mountain wildflower.
A usually yellow-flowered columbine of western North American mountains from British Columbia and Alberta south to Utah at elevations of 1300 to 3500 meters. An attractive option for cool, shady gardens within that region, its flowers range from whitish to yellow, sometimes tinged with pink, especially where its populations mingle with A. formosa.
Although the ranges of A. flavescens and A. formosa largely overlap, the two plants rarely grow in immediate proximity, the former requiring a more alpine habitat. Where they do coexist, they often cross freely, producing an intermediate phase that has been called A. flavescens var. miniana. In this variety the sepals are pinkish. The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin, aquila, which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
, Pilose Leaf Margin: Crenate Breeding System:
, Monoecious Inflorescence:
Flowers 12-22 mm long Fruit:
black 18-27 mm follicles Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Color ranges from cream to yellow, sometimes tinged with pink.
CO , ID , MT , OR , UT , WA , WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
S.e. B.C. to n.e. OR, e. to Alt., CO, & UT Native Habitat:
Moist mt. meadows, open woods, slopes, & rock slides, from 1300-3500 m USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Part Shade Soil Moisture:
Moist Cold Tolerant:
Moist, rocky soils. Conditions Comments:
Best in conditions that mimic its native,
BenefitUse Ornamental: An attractive, yellow columbine for cool, shady, preferably montane areas of western North America.
Use Wildlife: Hummingbirds, other pollinators
Use Food: Some reports of the flowers being edible, but caution is advised as many Aquilegia species are toxic.
Warning: Many Aquilegia species are toxic if consumed.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Seeds Seed Collection:
Seeds may ripen and be shed before the pod
has turned brown. If seeds in greenish follicles are black, they are ready to collect. Cut the fruiting stalk and keep in a dry bag for a few days until the seeds shake free. Commercially Avail:
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Oregon Native Plant Nursery
- Woodburn, OR
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2011-04-17
Research By: TWC Staff