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Aquilegia canadensis (Canadian or Canada columbine, eastern red columbine, wild columbine) is an herbaceous perennial native to woodland and rocky slopes in eastern North America, prized for its red and yellow flowers. It readily hybridizes with other species in the genus Aquilegia.

Aquilegia canadensis
Wild Columbine.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aquilegia
A. canadensis
Binomial name
Aquilegia canadensis
  • Aquilegia australis Small
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. albiflora House
  • Aquilegia canadensis subsp. americana Rapaics
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. aurea Opret
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. australis (Small) Munz
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. canadensis
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. coccinea (Small) Munz
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. ecalcarata Livingston
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. flaviflora (Tenney) Britton
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. flaviflora (Tenney) Britton ex House
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. flaviflora (Tenney) Britton
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. gartneri (Borbás) Rapaics
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. hybrida Hook.
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. latiuscula (Greene) Munz
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. longistyla Regel
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. phippenii J.Rob.
  • Aquilegia canadensis f. phippenii (J.Rob.) Ralph Hoffm.
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. vera Brühl
  • Aquilegia canadensis var. violacea Nutt.
  • Aquilegia coccinea Small
  • Aquilegia elegans Salisb.[1]
  • Aquilegia eminens Greene
  • Aquilegia flaviflora Tenney
  • Aquilegia latiuscula Greene
  • Aquilegia phoenicantha Cory
  • Aquilegia variegata Moench



Height is 15–90 cm (6–35 in). Leaves are lobed and grouped in 3s, growing from the base and off the flowering stems. Flowers are 1-2 inches long and have yellow petals with a red spur and red sepals. They appear in late spring, nodding on stems above the leaves. The round end of the spur contains nectar, which is sought by butterflies and hummingbirds.

The caterpillars of Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius) feed on the leaves.


The plant is easily propagated from seed and blooms the second year. It is relatively long lived in the garden. It grows well in shade, and in sun with proper moisture.

The plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[2]

The cultivar 'Little Lanterns' is half the height of the species.


Native American tribes[which?] used various parts of red columbine in herbal remedies for ailments such as headache, sore throat, fever, rash caused by poison ivy, stomatitis, kidney and urinary problems, and heart problems.[3] Native American men also rubbed crushed seeds on their hands as a love charm.[4]


Canada columbine contains a cyanogenic glycoside, which releases poisonous hydrogen cyanide when the plant is damaged.[5]


USA (AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV), Canada (MB, NB, ON, QC, SK)

Wetland Indicator StatusEdit

Regions 1-5: Facultative Equally (FAC) likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands (estimated probability 34%-66%).

  • Region 6: Facultative Wetland (FACW) Usually occurs in wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found in non-wetlands.



  1. ^ Salisb. Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton 374 1796
  2. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Aquilegia canadensis". Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Red Columbine" (PDF). PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Aquilegia canadensis". NPIN: Native Plants Database. Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  5. ^ Edible and Medicinal Plants of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Matthew Alfs. Old Theology Book House. 2001. p. 99.

External linksEdit