Aquilegia columbine

(ack-wi-lee' gee-a)

Common name: Columbine

Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup

Height x width: 18"-4' x 1-2'

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: basal, alternate on flower stem, compound, green to blue-green

Flowers: terminal, long hollow spurs; most colors and bicolors; spring, early summer

Hardiness: 3-8 or 9

Soil: moist, rich

Light: part shade

Pests and problems: leaf miner, slugs

Landscape habit, uses: woodland, native plantings, front to mid border, accent

Other interest: genus from Latin aquila for eagle from flower spurs resembling eagle claws; often hybridize

Other culture: often self sows

Propagation: seed common (cold treat 6 weeks, 40F), division of plantlets


akitensis: flabellata var. pumila

alpina(al-pine' ah)--Alpine Columbine, zones 3-8, 1-3' x 2', blue flowers in spring, gray-green foliage

atrata(ah-trah' tah)--2-3' tall, 1-2" wide nodding purple-violet flowers, hardy to zone 4, like nigrescens

bertolonii(ber-toe-lone' ee-ii)--Alpine Rock Columbine, 4-9" tall, rich violet-blue flowers

buergeriana(boo-er-ger-ee-aa' nah)--1-2' tall, nodding flowers with dull yellow petals, purple sepals and spurs (short)

caerulea(sare-oo' lee-ah)--Rocky Mountain Columbine, zones 3-8, 1-2' x 2', blue/white 2" upright flowers in spring, long lasting in the garden, straight or outward curving spurs, state flower of Colorado

canadensis(can-ah-den' sis)--Canadian Columbine, zones 3-8, 2-3' x 1', yellow/red flowers 1.5" and nodding in early spring, found in moist shade across eastern North America, less susceptible to leaf miner, self sows readily

chrysantha(crah-san' thah)--Golden Columbine, zones 4-8, 2-4' x 1', yellow flowers 2-3" wide with 3" long spurs, no staking with sufficient moisture

clematiflora(cle-mah-tih-floor' ah)--zones 5-8, 20" x 12", reddish-purple flowers early summer, spurless

einseliana(iin-sell-ee-aa' nah)--Alpine Columbine, smaller than alpina, nodding blue-violet flowers, shorter spurs

elegantula(ell-eh-gan' tu-lah)--zones 5-8, 24" x 12", rose sepals with greenish tips, yellow petals with short spurs

flabellata(fla-bell-aa' tah)--Fan Columbine, zones 3-9, 8-18" x 1', blue to lilac flowers with curved to hooked spurs, leaves with overlapping segments and bluish tinge

formosa(for-moe' sah)--Formosa Columbine, western U.S. native like canadensis

fragrans(fraa' grans)--Fragrant Columbine (slightly scent, also of cat), zones 5-8, 15-30" x 12", white to pale yellow or blue-green

glandulosa(gla-du-loe' sah) (transsilvanica)--Siberian Columbine, similar to flabellata

x helenae(heh-leh-nee') ('Helenae')--hybrid with blue and white flowers of caerulea, short and long spurs of flabellata

x hybrida(hi-brih-dah')--Hybrid Columbine, zones 3-9, 18"-3' x 1', various colors in spring, long- and short -spurred cultivars with long-spurred most popular; long-spurred hybrids of canadensis, chrysantha, caerulea and formosa; short- spurred hybrids of long-spurred and vulgaris

laramiensis(lar-ah-me-en' sis)--Rocky Mountain native, small white flowers, 6-9" rock garden plant

longissima(lon-giss' eh-mah)--Longspur Columbine, zones 4-8, 2-3' x 2', pale yellow flowers with 4" spurs in early summer, native of SE U.S., often short-lived

olympica(oe-lym' pih-ka)--zones 5-8, 24" x 12", white petals and bluish-purple sepals, for moist well-drained soils

ottonis (oe-toe' nis)subsp. amaliae(a-mah' lee)--zones 5-8, 15" x 12", white spurred petals, blue sepals, damp sites

oxysepala(ox-ee-see' pah-lah)--like buergeriana, 2-3' tall, claret sepals and yellow petals, hooked spurs

pyrenaica(pie-re-naa' eh-ka)--Pyrennees Columbine, like enseliana only nodding spurs

viridiflora(vir-eh-di-floor' ah)--Green Columbine, chocolate petals and yellow-green sepals on 1' plants with blue-green foliage

vulgaris(vul-gair' iss)--Granny's Bonnet, zones 3-8, 1.5-2' x 1', blue flowers in spring to early summer, short incurved spurs

yabeana(yah-bee-aa' nah)--zones 5-8, 12-20" x 10", pinkish-purple or reddish flowers, small delicate clump for organic soil

Cultivars, other taxa species flowers other
'Adelaide Addison' vulgaris purple/ white double same as Nora's Sister
var. alba vulgaris white, single  
'Alba' alpina white dark green foliage,shorter
f. alba flabellata creamy white tinged pink common
'Alba-plena' chrysantha pale yellow, tinged pink  
'Altrosa' vulgaris antique pink 24" tall
'Anemonaeflora' vulgaris ruby-red, spurless 24" tall, anemone-like
Biedermeier group   blue/white, other 9-12", Nose Gay C.
'Blue Star' vulgaris blue and white 24" tall
'Blue Tone' caerulea blue and white 30" tall, zone 5 minimum
'Burgundy Double': 'Double Rubies'      
'Cap de Rossiter' vulgaris pink/white dahlia-like 2-3' tall, persistent
'Casper Innes' flabellata lavender blue 4-6" tall
'Clematiflora': var. stellata vulgaris    
'Corbett' canadensis pale yellow 8-10" high
'Crimson Star'   crimson/white 2 1/2 ft
'Double Rubies'   maroon, double 3' tall
'Dragonfly'   mix 18-24" tall
'Dynasty': 'Song Birds'      
'Fairyland Mix'   mix short-spurs,upright,dwarf
var. flore-pleno vulgaris deep purple, double petals  
'Grandmother's Garden' vulgaris rose, violet, wine red 30-36" tall,late spring
'Heidi' vulgaris pink 28" tall, late spring
'Hensol Harebell'   deep blue, branched spring to early summer 
var. hinckleyana chrysantha yellow Texas native, compact
var. jaeschkanii chrysantha yellow, red spurs 1.5' tall
var. jucunda glandulosa white  like flabellata 'Alba'
'Koralle'   coral-pink, long spurs 30-36" tall
'Kristall'   pure white, large 24" tall, zone 5 minimum
f. kurilensis flabellata blue or blue/white 4" dwarf
'Maxistar' longissima yellow larger fls than species
McKana group   mix 24",large fls,long spurs
'Mellow Yellow'   white or pale blue 20" tall, golden foliage
'Mini-Star' flabellata blue sepals, white petals 6-8" rock garden cv.
'Mrs. Nicholls' caerulea blue,whitish blue inner old cultivar, scarce
Mrs. Scott Elliott hybrids   many older before McKanas
'Munstead White':'Nivea' vulgaris    
Music series   mix like Song Birds, compact
var. nana chrysantha yellow 1.5' tall
var. nana flabellata blue sepals, white petals may be Mini-Star
'Nana Alba':var. pumila f. albaflabellata      
Nivea ('Munstead White') vulgaris white, single pale gray foliage, 3'
'Nora Barlow' vulgaris red-pink, white margins double like dahlias
var. ochroleuca ('Albiflora') caerulea creamy white similar to species
Olympia strains   bicolor mix  
'Plena' vulgaris mix, doubles 36" tall
'Plum Pudding' vulgaris plum-violet, double, short spurs 30" tall
var. pumila (akitensis) flabellata blue and white 10" tall, zone 4
var. pumila f. alba flabellata creamy white smaller version of Alba
'Raspberry Tart' vulgaris raspberry-red, double 24-30"
'Red Hobbit'   rose-red selection of Crimson Star
'Rotstern' (Red Star) caerulea red, white spurs 28" tall, zone 5 minimum
'Ruby Port': 'Double Rubies'      
'Silver Queen'   white 3" wide flowers
'Song Birds' ('Dynasty')   vibrant mix or singles 2-3', bird names
'Spring Song'   mix, some near doubles 3' tall, 3" spurs
var. stellata ('Clematiflora) vulgaris pink to red, spurless 2' tall, nodding flowers
var. superba alpina blue larger than species
'Trevor Bath' vulgaris white, rose spurs/sepals short-spurs, semi-double
var. truncata (A. eximia) formosa yellow/red smaller petals than sp.
'Variegata' vulgaris blue, white or purple yellow marbled foliage
'Variegata': A. vulgaris  verbaeneana    
'Windswept'   deep blue 12-15" tall, short spurs
'Woodside': 'Variegata' vulgaris    
'Yellow Queen' chrysantha lemon-yellow 2-3" wide flowers


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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