WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Masses of dramatic blue and white flowers dance with the breeze on multiple 1–3-foot tall, erect stalks from a leafy base. No wonder it’s a poplar landscape accent and the state flower of Colorado. Note the long spurs on the base of the flower.


FLOWERS: June-Aug. Pale to dark blue and white, showy on erect stems, 2–3 1/4 inches (5–8 cm) long with 5 perpendicular spreading, lance-shaped sepals 1–2-inches (28–51 mm) long, and 5 petals with rounded tips and a blue spur 1 1/8–2 inches (3–5 cm) long. The complex flowers evolved to attract long-tongued hawk moths for pollination by hiding nectar deep inside the long spurs.


LEAVES: Basal, alternate on stem. Leaves compound, divided into 2–3 leaflets each with 3 lobes. Basal leaves 3 1/2–14 1/2-inches (9–37 mm) long, upper leaves smaller.


HABITAT: Sandy, clay-loam, moist soils, canyons, stream banks, talus slopes; mixed conifer forests.


ELEVATION: 7,800–13,000 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 5 species of Columbine in NM but no others have blue flowers.


NM COUNTIES: Northern half of NM in mid- to high-elevation, moist habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Colfax, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Juan, San Miguel,  Santa Fe, Sandoval, Taos. .

COLORADO  BLUE  COLUMBINE

AQUILEGIA  COERULEA (AQUILEGIA  CAERULEA)

Buttercup Family, Ranunculaceae

Perennial herb

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