May to June
The White and Lavender Columbine was discovered in 1820 on Pike’s Peak by mountain climber Edwin James.
The Columbine’s name derives from the Latin for columba, meaning dove.
In a state known for its snow, a mountain wildflower seems an appropriate choice. State lawmakers agreed, and in 1899 the Colorado General Assembly decreed the White and Lavender Columbine the Colorado state flower.
Coloradans have good reason to be proud of their state flower. The perennial’s blooms are distinctive and beautiful. Unfolding in early to mid-May and blossoming through June, Columbines are generally characterized by having an outer set of blue spurs and white sepals and an inner ring of white upright petals. These graceful, bell-shaped petals are modified nectar spurs from which butterflies and hummingbirds can drink the sweet liquid. At the center of the flower is a cluster of slender yellow stamens.
Colorado’s state flower grows in moist, rich, rocky soil and in light sun. It thrives in meadows, woods and mountains and is native throughout the western United States. In Colorado, Columbines are actually rare. They are most often found at elevations between 7,000 to 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains. Flowers from the Columbine often appear in images touting the state’s summertime beauty, drawing hikers to the mountains.
Despite its wild nature, Colorado’s state flower is sometimes featured in gardens throughout because of its ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Though the plants last for only a few years, each bloom they produce is a delight!
Full Sun/Partial Shade
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