Home & Garden: Where the columbines grow | PostIndependent.com

Home & Garden: Where the columbines grow

The scientific name of the columbine is Aquilegia caerulea. It is in the buttercup family.
Rick Spitzer / Special to the Free Press |

The columbine was first discovered on Colorado’s Pike’s Peak in 1820 by Edwin James on the first recorded climb of that mountain. James was serving as a botanist and geologist on Major Stephen Harriman Long’s expedition into the Rocky Mountains.

The Rocky Mountain columbine was designated the official state flower of Colorado in 1899. It was selected through a vote by Colorado’s school children. The reasoning was that blue symbolized of the sky, white represented the snow and yellow served to commemorate Colorado’s gold mining history. “Where the Columbines Grow” is one of the two official state songs of Colorado. It was written and composed by A.J. Fynn, and was adopted on May 8, 1915.

In 1925, the Colorado General Assembly passed a law to protect this beautiful and delicate flower. Many people believe it is against the law to pick or uproot the flower on public lands. However, that law actually states that a person may gather up to 25 blossoms and buds in one day. Picking on private land is illegal without the consent of the landowner. All the same, it is best to leave them alone so that others may enjoy them. Buy the seeds in a seed store and plant your own in your garden.

The scientific name of this hardy perennial is Aquilegia caerulea. It is in the buttercup family. Aquilegia is Latin for eagle (aquila), because the flower petals resemble an eagle’s claw and caerulea means blue-colored. There is also a rare alpine or dwarf blue columbine the size of a dime.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User