Rocky Mountain Columbine

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The Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea) was designated as the official state flower of Colorado on April 4, 1899.[1]

Lavender & White Columbine Flower

It's Family: Ranunculaceae, Genus: Aquilegia, Species: caerulea, Foliage: Herbaceous. [2] The Latin word aquila means "Eagle" and refers to the claw-like spurs at the base of the flower.[3] The flower's sweet frangrance attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies to its nectar.

The Rocky Mountain Columbine (sometimes called the "Colorado Columbine") grows best in full sun or partly shady areas, in cooler temperatures, and grows well in high altitude areas. It does not grow well in hot, humid climates. It is a perennial plant that requires regular watering. The plant grows to a height of 18 to 36 inches, the flower is usually 2 to 3 inches across, and blooms during the late spring and early summer, often in the months of June, July and August. The delicate lavender and white (or blue and white) wildflower is rare in some parts of the state, but can be found in moist areas in clearings, the edge of pine forests, in Aspen groves, along roadways, and mountain drainages.[4]

In 1915, an act of the General Assembly adopted "Where the Columbines Grow" as the official state song. (words and music composed by A.J. Fynn in 1986).[5][6]

Since 1925, the Rocky Mountain Columbine has been protected by a law prohibiting digging or uprooting the flower on public lands and limits the gathering of buds, blossoms and stems to 25 in one day. It may not be picked at all on private land without the consent of the landowner.[7]