Aquilegia canadensis L.

Aquilegia canadensis plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Stems - To +60cm tall, multiple from base, branching above, red to green, herbaceous, thin, glabrous to glandular pubescent in upper portions, sparsely pilose below.

Leaves - Basal leaves on long petioles, biternate. Petioles to +10cm long, sparse pilose to glabrous. Cauline leaves becoming sessile above. Leaflets lobed, deep green and glabrous above, glaucous below with some pubescence near base or not. Ultimate divisions obtuse at apex, with main veins coming together at apex forming tiny white tip.

Aquilegia canadensis leaf

Inflorescence - Single flowers from leaf axils on long peduncles, nodding.

Flowers - Petals 5, spurred, yellowish at tip red for rest of length, +/-4cm long, expanded upper lip to 7mm broad. Sepals 5, reddish, yellow at apex, alternating with petals, to 2cm long, lanceolate. Stamens +20, of different lengths, those closer to pistil longer than outer. Filaments to +1.7cm long, flattened and expanded at base, glabrous. Anthers yellow, 2mm long and broad. Styles to 1.3cm long, filiform, glabrous. Ovaries 4, 5mm long, tomentose, pale yellow-green.

Aquilegia canadensis flower

Fruit - Follicles to 3cm long, beaked.

Flowering - April - July.

Habitat - Rocky ledges, rocky slopes, low woods. Also cultivated.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - The spurs of the petals contain nectaries and are very attractive to insects equipped with long proboscises. This and other species of Aquilegia are highly cultivated and easy to grow.
In Italian "Aquila" means "Eagle" and indeed the genus is so named because of the talon shaped spurs of the petals.
Steyermark lists two forms for the plant in Missouri. Form canadensis, (pictured above), has the typical red and yellow corolla. Form flaviflora (Tenny) Britt. has a corolla which is completely yellow. This form is rare. Some cultivated forms have white or pink corollas and can be double flowered also.

Photographs taken in the Hercules Glade Wilderness, Mark Twain National Forest, Taney County, MO., 4-28-00.