Aquilegia flavescens - Yellow Columbine

Phylum: Magnoliophyta - Class: Equisetopsida - Order: Ranunculales - Family: Ranunculaceae

Aquilegia flavescens - Yellow Columbine

Above: Yellow Columbine flowering in the Rocky Mountains in early July.

Yellow Columbine is the most common of the three species that grow in the Rocky Mountains, the other two being Colorado Blue Columbine - Aquilegia coerulea and Red Western Columbine - Aquilegia elegantula

Aquilegia flavescens, Yellow Columbine, western USA

The best time to see this flower in bloom is from mid-June to mid July. Yellow Columbine grows in moist, acidic habitats on rocky ledges, mountain meadows and subalpine slopes.

Various parts of the plant have been used to make medicines: the seeds can be crushed and added to hot water to cure headaches, and tea made from the dried roots and leaves, has been used to treat stomach and bowel complaints.

Aquilegia flavescens, Yellow Columbine, Yellowstone National Park

Aquilegia flavescens is a protected plant and so the flowers should never be picked or the plants dug up and removed. It is easy to cultivate from seed for use in gardens, and seeds can be purchased from reputable garden centres.


The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin noun Aquila, meaning eagle, in the belief that the shape of the petals are reminiscent of the wings of an eagle. The specific epithet flavescens means 'becoming yellow'.

The specimens seen on this page were photographed in Yellowstone National Park in early July.

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