Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Key to families | Table of families and genera
Previous taxon Index to accepted names and synonyms:
| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
Next taxon
Aquilegia formosa

Higher Taxonomy
Family: RanunculaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, perennial herb, woody vine [shrub], occasionally aquatic. Leaf: generally basal and cauline, alternate or opposite, simple or compound; petioles at base generally flat, occasionally sheathing or stipule-like. Inflorescence: cyme, raceme, panicle, or flowers 1. Flower: generally bisexual, generally radial; sepals 3--6(20), free, early-deciduous or withering in fruit, generally green; petals 0--many, generally free; stamens generally 5--many, staminodes generally 0; pistils 1--many, ovary superior, chamber 1, style 0--1, generally +- persistent as beak, ovules 1--many. Fruit: achene, follicle, berry, +- utricle in Trautvetteria, in aggregate or not, 1--many-seeded.
Genera In Family: +- 60 genera, 1700 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate, tropical mountains; many ornamental (Adonis, Aquilegia, Clematis, Consolida, Delphinium, Helleborus, Nigella). Toxicity: some highly TOXIC (Aconitum, Actaea, Delphinium, Ranunculus). Note: Taxa of Isopyrum in TJM (1993) moved to Enemion; Kumlienia moved to Ranunculus.
eFlora Treatment Author: Margriet Wetherwax & Dieter H. Wilken, family description, key to genera
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: AquilegiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: COLUMBINE
Habit: Perennial herb; caudex thick, branched to not. Stem: 1--few, ascending to erect, branched to not, scapose to not, glabrous to glandular-hairy. Leaf: basal 1--3-ternate, petiole generally long; cauline 0--few, generally much reduced, deeply 3-lobed to 1--2-ternate, petiole short to +- 0; segments generally wedge-shaped to obovate, abaxially pale green to glaucous, adaxially green to gray, glabrous to glandular. Inflorescence: few-flowered raceme or flower 1, terminal; axis, pedicels glabrous to glandular; flowers generally nodding. Flower: sepals 5, petal-like, spreading [to +- reflexed]; petals 5, spurs between sepals, mouths < to > 90° to exposed filaments; pistils generally 5. Fruit: follicle, glabrous to glandular. Seed: smooth, shiny, brown to black.
Species In Genus: +- 70 species: temperate North America, Eurasia. Etymology: (Perhaps Latin: eagle, from spurs, or water-drawer, from habitats) Note: Many species, hybrids cultivated as ornamental; natural hybrids common; recent adaptive radiation with specialized pollinations syndromes (bee, hummingbird, hawkmoth).
eFlora Treatment Author: Justen Whittall, Scott A. Hodges & Dieter H. Wilken

Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC.
Habit: Plant 20--80(150) cm, glabrous, glaucous at least proximally. Leaf: basal, lower cauline generally 2-ternate, petioles 5--30(40) cm, leaflets 7--45(130) mm; upper cauline generally simple to deeply 3-lobed. Flower: sepals 10--20(25) mm, red; petal blade 0 or 1--7 mm, yellow, spur 12--23 mm, red, tip 1.5--4 mm wide, mouth <= 90° to exposed filaments, 4--6 mm wide, +- round; stamens 10--18 mm. Fruit: 15--28 mm, beak 9--12 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=14.
Ecology: Streambanks, seeps, moist places, chaparral, oak woodland, mixed-evergreen or conifer forests; Elevation: < 3300 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP (exc GV, SCo, ChI), GB; Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Montana, Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--Sep Note: Generally hummingbird-pollinated; leaf, petal blade variation needs study.
Synonyms: Aquilegia formosa f. anomala J.T. Howell; Aquilegia formosa var. hypolasia (Greene) Munz; Aquilegia formosa var. pauciflora (Greene) Boothman; Aquilegia formosa var. truncata (Fisch. & C.A. Mey.) Baker
eFlora Treatment Author: Justen Whittall, Scott A. Hodges & Dieter H. Wilken
Jepson Online Interchange

Previous taxon: Aquilegia eximia
Next taxon: Aquilegia pubescens

Name Search
botanical illustration including Aquilegia formosa


Citation for this treatment: Justen Whittall, Scott A. Hodges & Dieter H. Wilken 2016. Aquilegia formosa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 02, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 02, 2016.

Aquilegia formosa
click for enlargement
© 2013 Julie Kierstead Nelson
Aquilegia formosa
click for enlargement
© 2001 California Academy of Sciences
Aquilegia formosa
click for enlargement
© 2008 Keir Morse
Aquilegia formosa
click for enlargement
© 2015 Barry Breckling
Aquilegia formosa
click for enlargement
© 2010 Keir Morse
Aquilegia formosa
click for enlargement
© 2007 Neal Kramer

More photos of Aquilegia formosa in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Aquilegia formosa:
CA-FP (exc GV, SCo, ChI), GB;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.