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Aquilegia alpina L.

Alpine columbine

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassMagnoliidaeIncludes magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, and many others
OrderRanunculalesBasal (evolved earlier) eudicots, also called “true dicots”
FamilyRanunculaceaeButtercup family
GenusAquilegiaFrom Latin aquila, or “eagle,” for the flower’s resemblence to an eagle’s claw

About plant names...

Alpine columbines are natives of the Swiss Alps and the northern Apennines. They are not found in the wild in North America.

Identification: Plants are up to 2½′ (76 cm) high. Bluish-green rounded leaves, about 1½″ (3.8 cm) in size, are deeply divided into many rounded lobes, somewhat fernlike in appearance. Blue (sometimes blue and white) flowers are nodding (hanging downward).

Aquilegia alpina (alpine columbine)

The blue coloring in this image from Thomé, Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm, Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz., 1885 is faded.

Online References:

in Paghat's Garden


Wikimedia Commons


Aquilegia vulgaris subsp. alpina (L.) Hook.f. & Thomson

Aquilegia reuteriana Rchb. ex Nyman

Aquilegia alpina f. gracilis Chenev. & Braun-Blanq.

Aquilegia alpina var. minor Rouy & Foucaud

Aquilegia montana Sternb.


Aquilegia alpina description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Aquilegia alpina (alpine columbine)

9/7/2010 · Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 1½ × 1′ (52 × 34 cm)

Range: Zones 4a-7b:

About this map...