San Juan Wildflowers: Colorado Blue Columbine
The Colorado Blue Columbine:
The State Flower of Colorado, the Blue Columbine has a Greek name as well:
The genus name Aquilegia comes from the Latin Aquila which means eagle and refers to the spurred petals that many believe resemble an eagle’s talons.
Aquilegia coerulea ranges in height from 15 to 90 cm. The foliage is green not glaucous and the leaves are glabrous above and glabrous to pubescent below. The flowers are erect and white, cream, blue, and sometimes pinkish white. The sepals are blue, pale blue to white, 20 to 40 mm long and spreading to perpendicular. The blades are white rarely blue, 15 to 25 mm long. The spurs are blue, white, or whitish pink, 30 to 45 mm long and spreading. A variety of Colorado blue columbine is spurless. (wow that sounds like Lawyer Speak!)
But why does the Blue Columbine represent Colorado?
The reason I am told the Alpine Blue Columbine represents Colorado as its state flower is because of its coloring. The most prominent color, blue, represents all the beautiful blue sky that Colorado is most known for. The white petals , of course, represent all the snow or white gold that helps with this state’s economy with skiing and the like. The yellow/gold center represents what originally brought the white man in mass to this area, the discovery of gold.
Where is the best spot to find Colorado Blue Columbines in the San Juan Mountains?
They sure are not hard to find anywhere in the wet high country of the San Juan Mountains near timberline, but the biggest one that I have ever seen was located at just about timberline on the uphill side of Black Bear pass, right by the only intersection.
Watch Back Wood Betty as she finds some Blue Columbines on her San Juan Adventure!
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