Sierra Wild Flowers - Lake Tahoe
  wildflower photo    Scientific Name: Aquilegia formosa
   Common Name: Crimson Columbine
   Family: Buttercup
   Color: Red to Yellow


Five yellow petals form tubes that taper into red nectar spurs with bulbous tips. The spurs alternate between flared red sepals. Many long, yellow stamens protrude beyond the petals.

Common up to 9500 ft. in a variety of habitats, including moist forest and woodland openings, stream banks, and rocky slopes and ledges.

Although the flowers make a pretty garnish and can be consumed in small quantities, ingestion is not recommended as the rest of the plant, especially the roots and seeds, can be highly toxic.

This flower is pollinated by the long proboscises of hummingbirds and bumblebees, though smaller bees often bite through the bulb at the tip of the spur and steal the nectar. Columbine was used historically for many ailments, including heart palpitations, boils, and ulcers.

Crimson Columbine by a Rock

Crimson Columbine

Crimson Columbine Closeup

Aquilegia formosa in front of Snowy Mountains