Aquilegia coerulea

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Aquilegia coerulea
Flowers March 2008-13.jpg
Aquilegia coerulea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aquilegia
Species: A. coerulea
Binomial name
Aquilegia coerulea

Aquilegia coerulea is a species of Aquilegia flower native to the Rocky Mountains from Montana south to New Mexico and west to Idaho and Arizona. Its common name is Colorado blue columbine; sometimes it is called "Rocky Mountain columbine," but this properly refers to Aquilegia saximontana.

Colorado blue colDesumbine


Yellow-p color variant

It is a herbaceous perennial plant often found at elevations of 2,100 to 3,700 m (6,900 to 12,100 ft). This beautiful plant can grow to 20–60 cm (8-24 in) tall, with flowers sprouting in inflorescences produced from the shoot apical meristem.[1] The flowers are very variable in color, from pale blue (as in the species name coerulea) to white, pale yellow and pinkish; very commonly the flowers are bicolored, with the sepals a different shade to the petals. They consist of five petals, five sepals and an ovary surrounded by 50 to 130 stamens. Five long spurs hang below the calyx and contain nectar at their tips, accessible only to hawkmoths. In addition to hawkmoths, pollinators for this flower include bumble-bees, solitary bees and syphrid flies.[2]

Aquilegia coerulea is the state flower of Colorado.


There are five varieties of aquilegia coerulea:

  • Aquilegia coerulea var. alpina
  • Aquilegia coerulea var. coerulea
  • Aquilegia coerulea var. daileyae
  • Aquilegia coerulea var. ochroleuca
  • Aquilegia coerulea var. pinetorum


cv. 'Crimson Star' in visible light, UV (showing nectar guides), and IR.

Aquilegia coerulea is used as an ornamental plant in gardens, with numerous cultivars selected for different flower colors. Cultivars include 'Origami' [3] and 'Crimson Star'.


  1. ^ Pabón-Mora, Natalia; Sharma, Bharti; Holappa, Lynn D.; Kramer, Elena M.; Litt, Amy (March 7, 2013). "The Aquilegia FRUITFULL-like genes play key roles in leaf morphogenesis and inflorescence development". The Plant Journal. 74 (2): 198–199. doi:10.1111/tpj.12113. 
  2. ^ Brunet, Johanne (2009). "Pollinators of the Rocky Mountain columbine: temporal variation, functional groups and associations with floral traits". Annals of Botany. 103 (9): 1568, 1570. doi:10.1093/aob/mcp096. 
  3. ^ Trim Tree Nursery: Aquilegia caerulea 'Origami Mix'

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