Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis


Aquilegia canadensis

Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer
Zones: 2, 3, 4
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Red, Yellow
Fragrance: No
Height: 1 - 3 feet
Spacing: 1 foot


Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) occurs in rocky woods, slopes, ledges and open areas. Features drooping, bell-like, 1-2", red and yellow flowers (red sepals, yellow-limbed petals, 5 distinctive red spurs and a mass of bushy yellow stamens). Each flower is replaced by 5 pod-shaped follicles that have long beaks. Each follicle splits open along one side to release the shiny black seeds. The root system is fibrous and rhizomes are occasionally produced.

Habitats include rocky open woodlands, wooded slopes, sandy savannas, thinly wooded bluffs, partially shaded areas of cliffs, limestone glades, fens and bogs, openings in logged woodlands, and areas along railroad tracks. Occasional wildfires and other kinds of disturbance in wooded areas are probably beneficial in maintaining populations of this plant.

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Wide range of soil tolerance as long as drainage is good. Prefers rich, moist soils in light to moderate shade. Freely self-seeds and will naturalize to form large colonies in optimum growing conditions.. Keep soils uniformly moist after bloom to prolong attractive foliage appearance. When foliage depreciates, plants may be cut to the ground.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  The small black seeds are easy to collect and replant.
  Flowers are quite attractive to hummingbirds.
  Remove flowering stems after bloom to encourage additional bloom.
Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries