Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Yellow Columbine (Aquilegia flavescens)

Yellow Columbine; Silver Glance Lake, 6/26/2018, David Kenison

In the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). Also known as Golden Columbine. Found throughout the Wasatch generally in most well-watered soils and hillsides; also prevalent throughout northwest North America.

These pretty flowers tend to be smaller than their ubiquitous and far more common cousins the Colorado Columbine, but the pale or dark yellow shade with occasional pink highlighting make them a treat to spot. The blossoms, on the end of a long thin stalk, tend to droop downward.

The scientific name presents some interesting insights. Some researchers believe the genus Aquilegia is derived from the Latin word aquila for "eagle," referring to the sharp talon-like sepals or spurs. Others attribute it to a combination of aqua ("water") and legere ("to collect") referring to the "nectar at the base of the spur." The species name flavescens refers to the yellow or golden color.  The name "Columbine" from the Latin columbinus for "dove" refers to the flower's elegant and graceful appearance.

These photos were taken by the author at a variety of locations around Utah.  Click to view enlargements.

Additional information:
USDA information page
USDA profile
Lady Bird Johnson Page

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