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Aquilegia coerulea

Aquilegia coerulea . Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Ordo: Ranunculales

Familia: Ranunculaceae
Subfamilia: Thalictroideae
Genus: Aquilegia
Species: Aquilegia coerulea
Varietates: A. c. var. alpina – A. c. var. coerulea – A. c. var. ochroleuca – A. c. var. pinetorum

Aquilegia coerulea E.James, Account Exped. Pittsburgh, ed. Philadelphia, 2: 15 (1822).

Aquilegia canadensis subsp. coerulea (E.James) Brühl, J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 61: 319 (1893).
Aquilegia macrantha Hook. & Arn., Bot. Beechey Voy.: 317 (1838).
Aquilegia advena Regel,Index Seminum (LE, Petropolitanus) 1856: 32 (1856).
Aquilegia coerulea f. glandulosa Cockerell, Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 18: 168 (1891).
Aquilegia formosa var. macrantha (Hook. & Arn.) Brühl, J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 61: 320 (1893).
Aquilegia coerulea var. daileyae Eastw., Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci., ser. 3, 1: 76 (1897).
Aquilegia oreophila Rydb., Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 29: 146 (1902).
Aquilegia coerulea var. leptocera (Nutt.) A.Nelson, Man. Bot. Rocky Mt., ed. 2: 191 (1909).
Aquilegia coerulea var. macrantha (Hook. & Arn.) Rapaics, Bot. Közlem. 8: 136 (1909).
Aquilegia coerulea subsp. albiflora (A.Gray) A.Gray ex Payson, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 20: 152 (1918).
Aquilegia coerulea subsp. daileyae (Eastw.) Payson, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 20: 153 (1918).
Aquilegia piersoniana L.O.Williams, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 21: 344 (1934).

Additional references

Govaerts, R.H.A. 1995. World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2). 483, 529 pp. MIM, Deurne. ISBN 90-341-0852-X (issue 1) ISBN 90-341-0853-8 (issue 2). Reference page.
Whittemore, A.T. 1997. Aquilegia. Pp. 253 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 3: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae. 590 pp. Oxford University Press, New York / Oxford, ISBN 0-19-511246-6. efloras Reference page.
Allred, K. W. 2012. Flora Neomexicana. The vascular plants of New Mexico. Vol. 1: An annotated checklist to the names of vascular plants, with synonymy and bibliography. Ed. 2. 613 pp. Range Science Herbarium, Las Cruces, New Mexico. Reference page.
Ackerfield, J. 2015. Flora of Colorado. 818 pp. BRIT Press, Fort Worth, Tx. ISBN 978-1-889878-45-4. Reference page.


Hassler, M. 2020. Aquilegia coerulea. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2020. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2020 March 27. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Aquilegia coerulea in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 March 27. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Aquilegia coerulea. Published online. Accessed: 27 March 2020.

Vernacular names
azərbaycanca: Mavi akvilegiya
English: Colorado Blue Columbine
français: Ancolie bleue à fleurs précoces
polski: Orlik niebieski
русский: Водосбор голубой
svenska: Coloradoakleja

Aquilegia coerulea, the Colorado blue columbine, is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to the Rocky Mountains, USA. Aquilegia coerulea is the state flower of Colorado.[1]

The Latin specific name coerulea (or caerulea) means "sky blue".[2]


It is a herbaceous perennial plant often found at elevations of 2,100 to 3,700 m (6,900 to 12,100 ft). It grows to 20–60 cm (7.9–23.6 in) tall, with flowers sprouting in inflorescences produced from the short apical meristem.[3] 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 syrphid flies.[4] Its native habitats include moist woods and open mountain meadows.[5]

It is found in Colorado, south eastern Idaho, southern Montana, Wyoming, northern New Mexico, and Utah.[6]

Aquilegia coerulea is used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7] Its natural variability is exploited in the selection of numerous cultivars in different shades. Cultivars include 'Origami' [8] and 'Crimson Star'.

Yellow-p color variant

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


"State Flower". State of Colorado. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.
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. PMID 23294330.
Brunet, Johanne (2009). "Pollinators of the Rocky Mountain columbine: temporal variation, functional groups and associations with floral traits". Annals of Botany. 103 (9): 1567–1578. doi:10.1093/aob/mcp096. PMC 2701757. PMID 19414518.
"Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin". Retrieved 2021-12-20.
"Aquilegia coerulea". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
"RHS Plantfinder - Aquilegia coerulea". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
Trim Tree Nursery: Aquilegia caerulea 'Origami Mix'

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