Yellow columbine, Aquilegia flavescens, is native to the mountainous regions of the western United States and Canada. The color of the flower is normally yellow, but as was the case with the specimen we photographed, red to pink shades can be present as well.
Yellow Columbine can have significant variation in color and form even within the same genus and species.
Columbine is also a prolific cross-breeder, with hybrids the norm where different columbine species are in close proximity to each other.
In the photograph at the top of this page, there are three different columbine species. The golden columbine is in focus but in the background (heavily blurred) is the red of the American columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and the yellow of golden columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha).
Yellow columbine is a mountain plant, at home at high elevations. The natural habitat of yellow columbine is alpine and mountainous regions and it is found typically above 3000 feet. If you wish to grow yellow columbine in your garden, it better be shady and cool or you will have to treat it as an annual.
These three species are blooming happily in a mid-spring. Considering this image was taken in a southern landscape, as the summer moves in the yellow columbine will most likely not persist. Lupine is very much the same in warm climates.
- Yellow columbine (Aquilegia flavescens) at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center.
- The USDA Forest Service has a great write-up, with a great map showing the way natural distribution follows the mountain ranges from the U.S. to Canada.