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Growth Type Perennial
Hardiness Zones 3-8
Planting Conditions Shade
TJ Documented Plant Yes

Thomas Mann Randolph, Thomas Jefferson's horticulturally astute son-in-law, observed the native or American columbine blooming at Monticello on April 30, 1791, and the species can still be found growing wild at Monticello today.[1] This ornamental flower was introduced to Europe and documented in British gardens by the 1640s.[2] In the late 1700s, the Reverend John Banister recorded this species in Virginia, as did John Clayton in the 1750s.[3] 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 appearing on tall, delicate stems above attractive, medium green foliage.

Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Native Columbine.

Typical Blooming Dates: April-June
Color(s): Yellow, Reds, Orange
Location at Monticello: East Lawn

In Bloom at Monticello is made possible by support from The Richard D. and Carolyn W. Jacques Foundation.

Further Sources


  1. ^ Randolph to Jefferson, April 30, 1791, in PTJ, 20:330. Transcription available at Founders Online. 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: Yale University Press, 2008), 174.
  2. ^ Joan Parry Dutton, Plants of Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1979), 99. See also Griffith, Flowers and Herbs, 174, and Denise Wiles Adams, Restoring American Gardens: An Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants, 1640-1940 (Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, Inc., 2004), 170.
  3. ^ Adams, Restoring American Gardens, 174.

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