Perennial herb from a taprooted, usually branched, woody stem-base; stems erect, 15-100 cm tall, smooth below, sparsely hairy and smooth above especially in inflorescence.
Basal leaves 10-40 cm long (including long stalks), much shorter than stems, twice 3-parted, the first set of 3 stalks 16-95 mm long (the leaflets not crowded), smooth or long soft-hairy, each leaflet 14-68 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 to hanging flowers in a terminal cyme, the flowers 3-5 cm wide; bracts leaf-like but greatly reduced, unstalked; petals 5, distinct, the spurs red, knobbed, 13-21 mm long, stout, abruptly narrowed near middle, with straight tips, not curved in, the blades yellow, oblong, sometimes absent, to 6 mm long, 4-6 mm wide; sepals 5, pale to deep red, widely spreading, elliptic to lance-shaped, 10-26 mm long, 4-9 mm wide, tips pointed to sharp-pointed; stamens 12-17 mm long.
Follicles, 5, erect, egg-shaped, 15-25 (29) mm long, hairy; beaks 9-12 mm long; seeds black, egg-shaped, wrinkled and pebbled.
Present from Summer to Fall
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|AT(1), BWBS(23), CDF(1), CMA(1), CWH(56), ESSF(173), ICH(80), IDF(63), MH(3), MS(137), PP(4), SBPS(20), SBS(259), SWB(1)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Aquilegia formosa var. communis Boivin
Aquilegia formosa var. fosteri Welsh
Aquilegia formosa var. hypolasia (Greene) Munz
Aquilegia formosa var. megalantha Boivin
Aquilegia formosa var. pauciflora (Greene) Boothman
Aquilegia formosa var. truncata (Fisch. & C.A. Mey.) Baker
Aquilegia formosa var. wawawensis (Payson) St. John
Aquilegia fosteri (S.L. Welsh) S.L. Welsh
Aquilegia mohavensis Munz
Aquilegia shockleyi Eastw.