Alpine Columbine 2010

Mt Dana, Yosemite, August 2010

  • Aquilegia pubescens Coville
  • Sierra columbine, Sierran columbine
  • Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
  • USDA Symbol: AQPU
  • USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

Similar to other columbines but with larger, erect (not nodding) all yellow flowers, sometimes with a hint of red or pink. A tufted plant with highly divided leaves and large cream flowers tinted with pastel blue, pink, or yellow and tipped upward. Resembles a delicate version of a garden hybrid columbine. Stems are 8-20 in. tall and the three-parted, lobed leaves are pale green.

The pale flowers and long, straight, nectar-filled spurs attract moths as pollinators. Where this species and Crimson Columbine (A. formosa) grow in the same region, cross-pollination between the two may result in hybrid plants.

Thegenus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquila which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagles talons.

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