The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of red columbine as seen on the north side of Silver Star Mountain, Gifford Pinchot National Forest........July 11, 2013.
Red columbine is one of the more distinctive and attractive wildflowers to be viewed in the Pacific Northwest. Several erect stems arise from 15-100 cm high. The stems are largely leafless, although an occasional reduced leaf may be found on the stem.
The basal leaves are divided into multiples of three leaflets. These smaller leaflets are further lobed. Any stem leaves that are present are alternate and smaller representatives of the basal leaves. The upper leaf surfaces are glaucous (bluish-green) while the undersides are typically pubescent.
The flowers are irregularly shaped, with five red sepals flared to the sides, and five smaller yellow petals extending below the petals. The blade of the petal (below the sepals) measures approximtely 2-5 mm long. The petals also consist of a long red, conical, nectar-producing spur which extends straight above the sepals. The stamens typically dangle below the petals. The whole flower tends to nod downward, with the spurs pointing upwards.
In the garden, red columbine is a long-lived perennial wildflower which reseeds fairly easily. It is an early spring bloomer, and may attract hummingbirds during their northerly spring migration.
Red columbine is found from moist, open forests of the lowlands, to subalpine meadows.
The red columbine is widely distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest, but in the arid regions, tends to be limited to near streams or mid to upper elevation meadows.
In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100'-4700' from Troutdale, OR east towards Mosier, OR.
Red columbine blooming along the fire road about one-half mile above the equestrian trailhead, Beacon Rock State Park..........May 14, 2014.
-Red columbine blooming at left along the road into the east side of Canyon Creek, Klickitat Wildlife Area.........May 22, 2015. The photo at right shows red columbine blooming along trails in open oak woodlands between Little Bowman and Canyon Creeks, Klickitat Wildlife Area........May 17, 2017.
The photo above shows a close-up of the flower of red columbine as seen at about 4100' just north of the DNR rock quarry abreast the ridgetop dividing Dairy and Cougar Creeks at the southeastern corner of Mt. Adams.........June 11, 2005. Note the 5 sepals reflexed upwards from the pendant flower, with the 5 spurred petals which are tipped with yellow.