Wild Columbine Aquilegia canadensis

Wild Columbine has leaves characteristically divided in three like garden columbine. The species differ in that it grows in tough sites in full sun, the leaves are naturally tinged maroon, and mounded throughout the season. Multiple flower stems rise up from the rounded form, and red blooms with yellow centers form at the ends of the stems. It’s longer blooming, can handle tough gravel and dry soil in the afternoon sun, has multiple flower stems per plant blooming at once, and the burgundy toned leaves turn red in fall. The Latin name indicates eagle talons, from the pointed shape of the flowers. When first growing the native species, I planted it in the shade like the garden columbines I had grown in the past. This plant moved across the yard to the driest, hottest spot in afternoon sun and gravel, and is thriving there.


  • Light: Part Sun, afternoon sun ok in NYS
  • Soil: Well-Drained Average to Poor and Dry, gravel
  • Height/Spread: 2-3 ft High and 1-2 ft Wide


  • Larval host for the Columbine Duskywing (Erynnis lucilius)
  • Attracts: Native Bees and Hummingbirds