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.

- Peggy Cornett, n.d.

Typical Blooming Dates: April-June
Growth Type: Perennial
Color(s): Yellow, Reds, Orange
Hardiness Zones: 3-8
Location at Monticello: East Lawn
Planting Conditions: Shade
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.