Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis L.)

Common name: Red Columbine, Wild Columbine, Canada Columbine
Scientific name: Aquilegia canadensis L.
Family name: Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)

Attracts: hummingbirds, butterflies, bees

Host plant to: Columbine Dusky (Erynnis lucilius) – the only food source for this butterfly.

Native range: Eastern and Central North America from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, south to northern Florida, western Oklahoma and eastern Texas. Endangered in Florida.

Wildlife: Red Columbine is pollinated by hummingbirds, which depend on the plant as an important nectar source. In addition, at least four bee species have been found to be effective pollinators of Red Columbine in southeastern Wisconsin and northwards.

Habitat: dry woods, wooded to open rocky hillsides, beach ridges, shorelines, roadsides, quarries and peat bogs. I have seen Columbine growing out of rock with little if any soil.

Height: 12-30 inches tall (30-80 cm)
Light needed: sun to light shade
Hardiness zones: 3 to 9
Bloom period: early spring, March to July; fruit in mid to late summer (June to August)
Bloom color: red with yellow

Growing Tips: This short-lived (3-5 years) perennial is very adaptable in the garden. The plant is easy to moderately difficult from seed. Dividing and transplanting established plants may not be successful.

Description: The flowers are downward facing with the petals forming a tubular spur.

Photo credit: Donna L. Long

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