A collection of flora from the pacific wonderland.

Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)

SONY DSC

Silver Star Mountain, Columbia Gorge, WA, 6/2014.

There’s no mistaking the unique sculptural Columbine for any other mountain flower.  It’s a good day when you find these elegant beauties gracing a trail en mass.

According to one of our favorite sources, Daniel Mathews’ Natural History of the Pacific Northwest Mountains, despite frequent mixing, the species are kept distinct due to “the fact that pollinators that go for red flowers are uninterested in blue flowers, and so forth.” In our region we most commonly see this red and gold variety that attracts hummingbirds and bees. The Colorado Blue Columbine (A. coerulea), found only in the Rocky Mountains is pollinated by moths “with long tongues to reach the bottoms of the long spurs.” Mathews’ also notes that bees often use a back-door, “nip[ping] the bulbous spur-tip to get the nectar.”

We’ve posted a less common yellow variety (A. flavescens) that only inhabits the eastern edge of our range.

Marble Mountains, CA. 8/2005.

 

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