Western Columbine AKA Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) can be found in moist areas throughout the Basin and Range. It belongs to the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). Columbine is a perennial plant that grows up to 4 feet in height. It tends to flower between May and August with seeds ripening from July to September. They like well-drained, moist soils and tend to grow along stream banks, springs, ponds, in meadows and even on moist mountain slopes.
Western Columbine has showy, bright red and yellow flowers that nod or hang upside down. The long, tubular petals form distinctive red spurs that reach toward the sky. These spurs contain nectar sacs in their knob-like ends. Hummingbirds and bees are attracted to the flowers and the sweet nectar and are the most common pollinators this plant. The sepals are red and flare outwards and are often confused with petals. The mouth of the petals tend to be yellow and contain long-protruding stamens. The leaves tend to be compound, divided into three leaflets.
Blackwell, L.R. "Great Basin Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Wildflowers of the High Deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Oregon." Morris Book Publishing, LLC., 2006.
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