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Any of approximately 80 species of perennial herbaceous plants constituting the genus Aquilegia, in the buttercup family, native to Europe and North America. They are distinctive for their five-petaled flowers with long, backward-extending spurs. Sepals and petals are brightly coloured. A. caerulea and A. chysantha are native to the Rocky Mountains. The wild columbine of North America (A. canadensis), bearing red flowers with touches of yellow, grows in woods and on rocky ledges from southern Canada southward. Many garden hybrids are cultivated for their showy flowers.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on columbine, visit Britannica.com.