Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Aquilegia formosa
red columbine, Sitka columbine

Distribution: Widely distributed on both sides of the Cascades crest throughout Washington; Alaska to California, coastal and inland to Alberta and Wyoming.

Habitat: Open woods, from the lowlands to moderate elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Pollination: Bumblebees, moths, hummingbirds


Glandular, glabrous to densely pubescent perennial from a branched to simple woody base, the several stems 1.5-10 dm. tall.


Leaves mostly basal, long-petiolate, the blades triternate; leaflets thin, obovate with a wedge-shaped base, 2-3 times lobed, glaucous and pubescent beneath, 1.5-5.5 cm. long.


Flowers usually several, nodding; sepals 5, petal-like, pale to deep red, oblong-lanceolate, 1.5-2.5 cm. long; petals 5, blades yellow, 2-5 mm long, spurs red, straight 10-15 mm. long; stamens numerous, the inner ones sterile and scale-like.


Follicles 5, 2 cm. long, copiously glandular-puberulent.

Accepted Name:
Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC.
Publication: Prodr. 1: 50. 1824.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Aquilegia formosa in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database

WA Flora Checklist: Aquilegia formosa checklist entry

OregonFlora: Aquilegia formosa information

E-Flora BC: Aquilegia formosa atlas page

CalPhotos: Aquilegia formosa photos

92 photographs:
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