E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Aquilegia brevistyla Hook.
blue columbine (smallflower columbine)
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24480)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Aquilegia brevistyla
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, slender, 20-80 cm tall, smooth below, thinly spreading-hairy above.
Basal leaves 5-30 cm long (including long stalks), much shorter than stems, twice 3-parted, the first set of 3 stalks 10-55 mm long (the leaflets not crowded), long soft-hairy, at least near ends, each leaflet 12-44 mm long, lobed and round-toothed, green above, not glandular, with a bloom beneath; stem leaves few, shorter-stalked.
Inflorescence of 1 to 4 nodding flowers in a terminal cyme, the flowers 2-3.5 cm wide; bracts like leaves but greatly reduced, unstalked; petals 5, distinct, white with pale blue spurs, the spurs hooked, 5-10 mm long, stout, evenly tapered from base, the blades oblong, 7-10 mm long, 3-6 mm wide; sepals 5, blue, diverging, lance-shaped to narrowly elliptic, 13-16 mm long, 3-6 mm wide, tips pointed; stamens 7-11 mm long.
Follicles, erect, egg-shaped, 15-25 mm long, hairy; beaks 3-4 mm long; seeds black, egg-shaped, smooth.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic meadows, thickets, gravelly terraces and open forests in the montane zone; frequent in BC north of 51degreeN and E of the Coast-Cascade Mountains; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and S to MT and SD.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Aquilegia brevistyla

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 490 894 1280
Slope Gradient (%) 0 31 205
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
10 274 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 4 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(11), ESSF(1), IDF(2), SBS(6), SWB(2)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References