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Aquilegia canadensis

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Aquilegia canadensis

Secure  (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aquilegia
A. canadensis
Binomial name
Aquilegia canadensis
List of synonyms
  • Aquilegia australis Small
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. albiflora House
  • Aquilegia canadensis ssp. americana Rapaics
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. aurea Opret
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. australis (Small) Munz
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. canadensis
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. coccinea (Small) Munz
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. ecalcarata Livingston
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. flaviflora (Tenney) Britton
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. flaviflora (Tenney) Britton ex House
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. flaviflora (Tenney) Britton
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. gartneri (Borbás) Rapaics
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. hybrida Hook.
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. latiuscula (Greene) Munz
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. longistyla Regel
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. phippenii J.Rob.
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. phippenii (J.Rob.) Ralph Hoffm.
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. vera Brühl
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. violacea Nutt.
  • Aquilegia coccinea Small
  • Aquilegia elegans Salisb.[2]
  • Aquilegia eminens Greene
  • Aquilegia flaviflora Tenney
  • Aquilegia latiuscula Greene
  • Aquilegia phoenicantha Cory
  • Aquilegia variegata Moench

Aquilegia canadensis, the Canadian or Canada columbine, eastern red columbine, or wild columbine, is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is an herbaceous perennial native to woodland and rocky slopes in eastern North America, prized for its red and yellow flowers. It readily hybridizes with other species in the genus Aquilegia.


The plant is 15–90 cm (6–35 in) tall. The fern-like leaves are lobed and grouped in threes, growing from the base and off the flowering stems. The flowers are 1–2 in (2.5–5.1 cm) long and have yellow petals with a red spur and red sepals. They appear in late spring (usually in May and June), nodding on stems above the leaves. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds.[3]

The caterpillars of columbine duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) feed on the leaves.[4]


Aquilegia canadensis is a highly decorative plant, valued for its attractive foliage and showy flowers. For this reason it is widely grown outside its native region, in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.

The plant is easily propagated from seed, and blooms the second year from sowing. It is relatively long lived in the garden. It grows well in shade, and in sun with proper moisture.[5]

The cultivar 'Little Lanterns' is half the height of the species.

Other uses[edit]

Native North American tribes[which?] used various parts of red columbine in herbal remedies for ailments such as headache, sore throat, fever, rash caused by poison ivy, stomatitis, kidney and urinary problems, and heart problems.[6] Native American men also rubbed crushed seeds on their hands as a love charm.[7][which?]


Canada columbine contains a cyanogenic glycoside, which releases poisonous hydrogen cyanide when the plant is damaged.[8]


USA (AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NM, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV), Canada (MB, NB, ON, QC, SK, BC).[9]

Wetland Indicator Status[edit]

Wetland is an extremely valuable but limited resource in the USA. The Wetland Indicator Status is used to determine which native plant species can provide information about the presence of wetland in a given area. Essentially if a plant thrives in a particular area, it means there is a greater likelihood of wetland there. Aquilegia canadensis is one such species.

  • Regions 1-5: Facultative Equally (FAC) likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands (estimated probability 34%-66%).
  • Region 6: Facultative Wetland (FACW) Usually occurs in wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found in non-wetlands.



  1. ^ NatureServe (1 December 2023). "Aquilegia canadensis". NatureServe Network Biodiversity Location Data accessed through NatureServe Explorer. Arlington, Virginia: NatureServe. Retrieved 24 December 2023.
  2. ^ Salisb. Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton 374 1796
  3. ^ "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin". www.wildflower.org. Retrieved 2021-12-20.
  4. ^ "Columbine Duskywing". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Metalmark Web and Data. Retrieved 11 May 2024.
  5. ^ "1998 Wild Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis) | VNPS". Virginia Native Plant Society. Retrieved 2024-05-22.
  6. ^ "Red Columbine" (PDF). PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Aquilegia canadensis". NPIN: Native Plants Database. Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  8. ^ Alfs, Matthew (2001). Edible and Medicinal Plants of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Old Theology Book House. p. 99. ISBN 0961296437.
  9. ^ Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). "Aquilegia canadensis". Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

External links[edit]