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Aquilegia canadensis - Native Columbine

Native Columbine

Common Name: Native Columbine[1]

Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadensis

Thomas Mann Randolph, Jefferson's horticulturally astute son-in-law, observed the native or American columbine blooming at Monticello on April 30, 1791[2], and the species can still be found growing wild at Monticello. This ornamental flower was introduced to Europe and documented in British gardens by the 1640s.[3] In the late 1700s, the Reverend John Banister recorded this species in Virginia, as did John Clayton in the 1750s.[4]Bernard McMahon listed seeds for this columbine in his Broadside Catalogue (c. 1800).

This columbine is a hardy, spring-flowering North American perennial with scarlet and yellow flowers appear on tall, delicate stems above attractive, medium green foliage.


  1. This article is based on a Center for Historic Plants Information Sheet.
  2. PTJ, 20:330. See also Edwin M. Betts, Hazlehurst Bolton Perkins, and Peter J. Hatch, Thomas Jefferson's Flower Garden at Monticello, 3rd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986), 53-54, and Lawrence D. Griffith, Flowers and Herbs of Early America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 174.
  3. Joan Parry Dutton, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, 1979), 99. See also Griffith, 174, and Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 170.
  4. Adams, 174.

Further Sources


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