Aquilegia saximontana

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Aquilegia saximontana
Aquilegia saximontana.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aquilegia
Species: A. saximontana
Binomial name
Aquilegia saximontana

Aquilegia saximontana, the Rocky Mountain columbine, alpine dwarf columbine, dwarf blue columbine, or alpine columbine, is a perennial plant that comes from the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family.


A. saximontana can be found in sub-alpine and alpine areas at elevations of 3,300–4,000 m (10,800–13,100 ft) in the Rocky Mountains. This species of columbine blooms in July and August. The blooms are lavender and white, and the entire plant reaches 5–25 cm (2.0–9.8 in) in height.[1] This plant is endemic (native only) to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, United States.[2]

A. saximontana should not be confused with Aquilegia coerulea var. coerulea, which overlaps in range and may also have blue and white flowers. They can be identified by comparing the length of the "spur"-shaped backs of the flowers; A. saximontana has hooked spurs 3–9 mm (0.12–0.35 in) long, while A. coerulea has straight spurs 34–48 mm (1.3–1.9 in) in length.[1][3]

State flower[edit]

There is some confusion as to which species of columbine is the official state flower of Colorado. The original documents referred to the state flower as being lavender and white in color and not of a particular species. Today, Aquilegia coerulea is considered the official state flower. Historically, however, A. saximontana may have a claim to be the "original" state flower of Colorado.[citation needed]

The following has been excerpted from The State of Colorado: [4]

24-80-905. Columbine.

The white and lavender columbine is hereby made and declared to be the state flower of the state of Colorado.

24-80-906. Duty to protect. It is hereby declared to be the duty of all citizens of this state to protect the white and lavender Columbine Aquilegia, Caerulea, the state flower, from needless destruction or waste.

24-80-907. Limitation on picking state flower. It is unlawful for any person to tear the state flower up by the roots when grown or growing upon any state, school, or other public lands or in any public highway or other public place or to pick or gather upon any such public lands or in any such public highway or place more than twenty-five stems, buds, or blossoms of such flower in any one day; and it is also unlawful for any person to pick or gather such flower upon private lands without the consent of the owner thereof first had or obtained.

24-80-908. Violation a misdemeanor - penalty. Any person who violates any provision of section 24-80-907 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five nor more than fifty dollars.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Aquilegia saximontana". Efloras, FNA Vol. 3. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  2. ^ "Aquilegia saximontana". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. 
  3. ^ "Aquilegia coerulea var. coerulea". Efloras, FNA Vol. 3. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  4. ^ Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 24, Article 80, Part 9, Sections 24-80-905 through 24-80-908