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

Aquilegia flavescens S. Watson
yellow columbine
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Dave Ingram  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6083)

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Distribution of Aquilegia flavescens
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taprooted woody stem-base; stems erect, 20-70 cm tall.
Basal leaves 8-30 cm long (including long stalks), much shorter than stems, twice 3-parted, the first set of 3 stalks 13-67 mm long (the leaflets not crowded), smooth or long soft-hairy, each leaflet 14-42 mm long, 2- to 3-times shallowly to deeply lobed, thin, usually hairy and with a bloom beneath, not glandular; stem leaves few, shorter-stalked.
Inflorescence of several nodding flowers in a terminal cyme, the flowers 2.5-5 cm wide; bracts leaf-like but greatly reduced, unstalked; petals 5, distinct, cream-coloured with yellow spurs, the spurs knobbed, 10-18 mm long, stout, evenly tapered from base or abruptly narrowed near middle, tips curved inward, the blades oblong, 7-10 mm long, 4-8 mm wide; sepals 5, yellow or tinged with pink, widely spreading, elliptic lance-shaped to oblong, 12-22 mm long, 4-10 mm wide, tips blunt to pointed; stamens 12-17 mm long.
Follicles, usually 5, erect, egg-shaped, 18-27 mm long, hairy or glandular-hairy; beaks 8-10 mm long; seeds black, egg-shaped, wrinkled and pebbled.
This species hybridizes frequently with A. formosa. The hybrids have been called A. flavescens var. miniana Macbr. & Pays.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and rocky slopes in the subalpine and alpine zones; common in SE BC, rare northward; E to AB and S to CO, UT, ID and OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Aquilegia flavescens

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) 740 1857 2435
Slope Gradient (%) 0 43 220
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 352 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
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: AT(28), BWBS(1), ESSF(113), ICH(13), IMA(4), MS(13), SBS(1), 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 montane boreal & cool temperate.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References