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Van Houtte's Columbine
Aquilegia eximia

About Van Houtte's Columbine (Aquilegia eximia) Aquilegia eximia is a species of columbine known by the common name Van Houtte's columbine. It is endemic to California, where it grows in the moist forests of the Coast Ranges. This is a perennial herb growing from a thick caudex and varying in height, reaching a maximum height near 1.5 meters. The lower leaves are divided into large, leaflike segments up to 4 or 5 centimeters long and a lobed oval in shape. Leaves farther up the stem are not segmented but may be deeply lobed. The flower cluster bears a large, nodding columbine flower. Each flower has five bright red to orange-red flat sepals up to nearly 3 centimeters long, and five petals which are hollow spurs up to 4 centimeters long, bright orange-red on the outer surface and lighter orange to yellow inside. The mouth of each hollow petal tube is up to a centimeter wide. The sepals and petals are generally reflexed back toward the stem and the five pistils and many thin stamens extend forward from the center of the flower.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
0.7 - 5 ft (0.21 - 1.5 m)

Flower Color
Orange, Red

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Seeps, moist ravines

Shade, Part Shade

Elevation ?
20' - 4879'

Annual Precip. ?
14.7" - 70.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.21" - 1.16"

Coldest Month ?
34.3° F - 50.8° F

Hottest Month ?
60.7° F - 73.5° F

Humidity ?
0.35 vpd - 23.62 vpd

Soil Description
Often found in serpentine soil but also does well in clay loam

Medium, Slow

Sunset Zones ?
4*, 5*, 6*, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Common uses
Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Vanhoutte's Columbine

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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