Hiking in an Audubon refuge recently, my friend and I came across this stunning sight. The large, thriving patch of aquiliegia canadensis, or Canadian – or Wild – columbine. These native wildflowers were growing in light shade near a pond.
We have seen this plant before, of course, growing in damp but well-drained soil. It blooms here in late May. But we agreed that these were particularly stunning because of the very red sepals and bright yellow, contrasting petals. The foliage is also attractive – delicate and fern-like.
The red spur is filled with nectar, and these plants are visited by pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
I would not try to grow this plant in my border. It’s just too hot and dry here. But I understand it does very well in the garden, under the right conditions.