Aquilegia pubescens

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Aguilegia pubescens
Aquilegia pubescens plant in rocks.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aquilegia
Species: A. pubescens
Binomial name
Aquilegia pubescens

Aquilegia pubescens is a high-altitude species of columbine known by the common names Sierra columbine, alpine columbine and Coville's columbine. Its flowers are large and usually a creamy white.


This wildflower is endemic to California, where it is a resident of the High Sierra. It is found in alpine and subalpine climates, often on open, rocky slopes, between 8,000 and 12,000 ft..[1]


This leafy columbine rarely reaches half a meter-1.5 feet in height. The showy flowers are erect or spreading, rather than drooping. The characteristic spurs may be up to 5 centimeters long and the flowers up to 5cm wide. The sepals (outer ring) and the petals (inner, with spurs) are generally cream or white, less often pink or yellow. The round, fused mouth protrudes, enclosing a cluster of long yellow stamens.[1]


Aquilegia pubescens (Sierra columbine) can hybridize with the lower-elevation Aquilegia formosa (crimson columbine) where their ranges overlap. This produces flowers with intermediate color, spur length, and orientation, as shown in the transition-series image, providing a change also in pollinator species: hawkmoths for A pubescens and hummingbirds for A. formosa.[2]


Transition of hybrid forms between the white A. pubescens and the red-&-yellow A. formosa


  1. ^ a b Bruce G. Baldwin; et al. (2012). The Jepson Manual, Vascular Plants of California (2nd ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 9780520253124. 
  2. ^ Elizabeth Wenk (2015). Wildflowers of the High Sierra and John Muir Trail. Wilderness Press. ISBN 9780899977386. 

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