Colorado State Flower

White & Lavender Columbine

Colorado Flower - White & Lavender Columbine

(Aquilegia caerulea)

Adopted on April 4, 1899.

The white and lavender Columbine, (Aquilegia caerules,) was adopted as the official state flower on April 4, 1899 by an act of the General Assembly. In 1925, the General Assembly made it the duty of all citizens to protect this rare species from needless destruction or waste. To further protect this fragile flower, the law prohibits digging or uprooting the flower on public lands and limits the gathering of buds, blossoms and stems to 25 in one day. It is unlawful to pick the columbine on private land without consent of the land owner.

Citation: Senate Bill 261, 1899, Bill, 1925; Colorado Revised Statutes 24-80-905 through 24-80-908.

Colorado State Flower: White & Lavender Columbine

Colorado Flower - White & Lavender Columbine

Aquilegia caerulea is a species of Aquilegia flower native to the Rocky Mountains from Montana south to New Mexico and west to Idaho and Arizona. Its common name is Colorado Blue Columbine; sometimes it is called "Rocky Mountain Columbine", but this properly refers to Aquilegia saximontana.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 20-60 cm tall. The flowers are very variable in color, from pale blue (as in the species name caerulea) to white, pale yellow and pinkish; very commonly the flowers are bicolored, with the sepals a different shade to the petals.

Identification of the Colorado White & Lavender Columbine

  1. Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
  2. Height: 3 ft Spacing: 15 in
  3. Type: herbaceous perennial
  4. Flowers: Blue and white

The two-inch blue or blue and white flowers of this columbine are the Colorado state flower. Do not expect the plant to be long-lived if planted in hot sites. Provide a partially shaded growing area with a moist, well-drained soil. Beautiful species native to the Rocky mountains with blue and white flowers May thru June

5. Propagation: Propagation is by seed or division.

6. Cultivars:

  1. 'Blue Bird' - A selection of the 'Songbird Series' with light blue and white flowers (Vis. 1).
  2. Dwarf Fantasy Series' - Flowers in blue, pink, purple and white. The plants are very small, only 4 inches tall.
  3. 'Heavenly Blue' - Blue flowers, plant to 3 feet tall.
  4. 'Rostern' ('Red Star') - Red and white flowers.

References for Cultivars: Bailey Nurseries 1997, Midwest
Groundcovers 1999.

The Colorado Revised Statutes

The law designating the white and lavender columbine as the official Colorado state flower is found in the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 1, Part 9, Sections 24-80-905 through 24-80-908


24-80-905. Columbine.
The white and lavender columbine is hereby made and declared to be the state flower of the state of Colorado.

24-80-906. Duty to protect.
It is hereby declared to be the duty of all citizens of this state to protect the white and lavender Columbine Aquilegia, Caerulea, the state flower, from needless destruction or waste.

24-80-907. Limitation on picking state flower.
It is unlawful for any person to tear the state flower up by the roots when grown or growing upon any state, school, or other public lands or in any public highway or other public place or to pick or gather upon any such public lands or in any such public highway or place more than twenty-five stems, buds, or blossoms of such flower in any one day; and it is also unlawful for any person to pick or gather such flower upon private lands without the consent of the owner thereof first had or obtained.

24-80-908. Violation a misdemeanor - penalty.
Any person who violates any provision of section 24-80-907 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than five nor more than fifty dollars.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: White & Lavender Columbine

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
    Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
    Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
    Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Ranunculaceae - Buttercup family
Genus: Aquilegia L. - columbine
Species: Aquilegia coerulea James - Colorado blue columbine

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