Aquilegia coerulea is a species of flowering plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae, native to the Rocky Mountains from Montana south to New Mexico and west to Idaho and Arizona. Its common name is Colorado blue columbine; sometimes it is called "Rocky Mountain columbine," but this also refers to Aquilegia saximontana.
|Aquilegia coerulea (Duval)|
The Latin specific name coerulea (or caerulea) means "sky blue".
It is a herbaceous perennial plant often found at elevations of 2,100 to 3,700 m (6,900 to 12,100 ft). This beautiful plant can grow to 20–60 cm (8–24 in) tall, with flowers sprouting in inflorescences produced from the shoot apical meristem. The flowers are very variable in color, from pale blue (as in the species name coerulea) to white, pale yellow and pinkish; very commonly the flowers are bicolored, with the sepals a different shade to the petals. They consist of five petals, five sepals and an ovary surrounded by 50 to 130 stamens. Five long spurs hang below the calyx and contain nectar at their tips, accessible only to hawkmoths. In addition to hawkmoths, pollinators for this flower include bumble-bees, solitary bees and syphrid flies.
There are five varieties of aquilegia coerulea:
- Aquilegia coerulea var. alpina
- Aquilegia coerulea var. coerulea
- Aquilegia coerulea var. daileyae
- Aquilegia coerulea var. ochroleuca
- Aquilegia coerulea var. pinetorum
Aquilegia coerulea is used as an ornamental plant in gardens, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Numerous cultivars selected for different flower colors. Cultivars include 'Origami'  and 'Crimson Star'.
cv. 'Crimson Star' in visible light, UV (showing nectar guides), and IR.
- Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.
- Pabón-Mora, Natalia; Sharma, Bharti; Holappa, Lynn D.; Kramer, Elena M.; Litt, Amy (March 7, 2013). "The Aquilegia FRUITFULL-like genes play key roles in leaf morphogenesis and inflorescence development". The Plant Journal. 74 (2): 198–199. doi:10.1111/tpj.12113. PMID 23294330.
- Brunet, Johanne (2009). "Pollinators of the Rocky Mountain columbine: temporal variation, functional groups and associations with floral traits". Annals of Botany. 103 (9): 1567–1578. doi:10.1093/aob/mcp096. PMC 2701757. PMID 19414518.
- "RHS Plantfinder - Aquilegia coerulea". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- Trim Tree Nursery: Aquilegia caerulea 'Origami Mix'