Wild columbine

Aquilegia canadensis

Common Name: Canada Columbine; Wild Columbine; Meetinghouses

  • Flowers with red spurs and yellow petals.
  • Rounded leaflets grow in threes, usually have scalloped edges.
  • Stems 1-7 feet tall, that rise out of a stubby, vertical, woody underground stem.
  • Flower from April to June.

Native or Invasive: Native perennial

Characteristics: Columbines are found throughout the Great Lakes region, especially near the coasts. They can also be found throughout most of North America, thriving in thin soils on rocky and gravelly beaches, outcrops and ridges. The also grow inland on woodland borders, on roadsides and in recently disturbed areas. They are pollinated by hawk moths and ruby-throated humming birds, which are attracted to the long, red flowers and their nectar. A sought-after garden flower.

Habitat: Thin, rocky soil, especially near coasts or along woodland borders.

Fun Fact: Columbine was used as a love charm and was rubbed on as a perfume, especially by men.

Ethnobotanical Uses: Columbine was once used to treat poison ivy. The pounded leaves were spread on affected body parts to stop the itch. Used to treat diarrhea, fevers and heart and kidney problems.

Adapted from Guide to Great Lakes Coastal Plants, by Ellen Elliott Weatherbee, University of Michigan Press.