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Aquilegia canadensis

Short-lived, native perennial that self-sows, 1-3' tall. Red columbine is a popular garden perennial because of its tolerance to a range of water, soil and shade conditions. Avoid extreme conditions. It is useful for woodland, borders, woodlot and meadow successional restorations and rehabilitations. This is the only native columbine in MN and WI, where many cultivated species have escaped into the wild. If planting this species make sure it is the native species, not a cultivar. Columbine will bloom profusely in sunnier locations, and provides refreshing splashes of color in shadier locations. Readily reseeds, but usually not troublesome.

USDA symbol: AQCA

General Information

Plant TypeForb
Height3 feet
Light ExposureSun, Part Sun, Shade
Soil MoistureDry
Bloom ColorRed
Columbine (Columbine<div><em class="small">Aquilegia canadensis</em></div>)
Photo credit: Ecoscapes (Click to enlarge)


Flooding / Inundation ToleranceLow
General Resilience7
Salt ToleranceLow
Stress ToleranceAlkaline Conditions, Drought Tolerant

Pollinator Value: Very High

Bloom MonthsMay to July
Larval Host ofButterflies, Moths
Specific Pollinators HostedErynnis lucilius, Papaipema leucostigma
Pollinator BenefitInsect Pollinated, Provides Nectar, Supports Specialists

Project Planning

Project TypeBoulevard, Rain Garden, Restoration, Shoreline Buffer
Coefficient of Conservatism5
Herbivore SensitivityLow
Rate of SpreadMedium
Soil StabilizationShallow
Vegetative ReproductionClonal


CountyAitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Blue Earth, Brown, Carlton, Carver, Cass, Chippewa, Chisago, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dakota, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Grant, Hennepin, Houston, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Le Sueur, Lincoln, Lyon, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Norman, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pipestone, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Red Lake, Redwood, Renville, Rice, Roseau, Sherburne, Sibley, St. Louis, Stearns, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Todd, Traverse, Wabasha, Wadena, Waseca, Washington, Watonwan, Wilkin, Winona, Wright, Yellow Medicine
EcoregionDriftless Area, Lake Agassiz Plain, North Central Hardwood Forests, Northern Glaciated Plains, Northern Lakes and Forests, Northern Minnesota Wetlands, Western Cornbelt Plains
Approximate Eco ProvinceEastern Broadleaf Forest, Laurentian Mixed Forest, Prairie Parkland, Tallgrass Aspen Parklands