Common Name: Columbine
Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadensis
Habitat & Range: dry, open woodland in partial shade throughout the state
Bloom Time: spring further south & summer further north
About: One of Michigan’s more exotic looking wildflowers, the columbine is a favorite of our Ruby-Throated hummingbirds and butterflies. The photo you see above is of a true Aquilegia canadensis, but you’ll find other colors around, especially closer to towns where cultivated columbines have escaped and seeded. Columbines cross-pollinate and you can get some really pretty hybrid colors. Seeds may be collected from these wildflowers if you want to try them in your garden, but please leave the plants themselves alone. Also, these can nearly always be found at native plant sales. My heavy clay soil has not been very hospitable to them, but if you have sandier soil, give them a try. During hot summers a columbine may die back, but it will likely return the next spring.
Reference: Wildflowers of Michigan by Stan Tekiela; Adventure Publications, 2000