Networking Columbines

Isn’t it wonderful how a good network can make up for personal ignorance? My posting on Boulder Columbines has yealded some very interesting infomation. First, thanks to Al Schneider for offering a link to his beautiful and comprehensive website on Southwest Colorado Wildflowers and for his advice on correct scientific nomenclature. The link to the Colorado Columbine on Al’s site is at:

While most of you know that the Columbine is the Colorado State Flower there are some variations on the iconic version (Aquilegia coerulea). With the arrival of Columbines here in Boulder’s open space I sought the advice of our resident botany volunteer Peter Stevenson (see my June 19, 2008 post).  Here is his research result and some striking photos:

“Here are some other interesting variations of Columbines all of which you should be able to find here in Boulder. There’s a variation (same species) that’s almost entirely white (Colorado Columbine – Aquilegia coerulea taken near Woodland Flats west of Eldora here in Boulder County)…

…a yellow version (Yellow Columbine – Aquilegia chrysantha rydbergii) which I’ve only seen in gardens over here though it’s been reported in Boulder’s Long Canyon, this picture is from Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon)…

…and a red version (Red Columbine – Aquilegia elegantula) which is relatively common, particularly this year, though this particular photo was taken in the Gore Range just North of Vail…

…There aren’t any genetic barriers preventing any of the species of Aquilegia from “intermarriage” so different species readily hybridize where they come into contact.  This leads to a variety of mixes and matches, a dwarf species and some spurless (those pokey things sticking out the back of the flower) versions exist as well.”



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