Golden Columbine / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii)

  • Global Rank: T1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
  • State: CO
  • Nature Serve ID: 152595
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

This species is the only all-yellow flowered species of columbine on the eastern slope of Colorado. This variety is endemic to El Paso and Fremont counties in Colorado. It is found in mountains, especially along streams or in rocky ravines, from 5500 to 6000 feet. The plant has bluish-green foliage and twice ternate basal leaves. The flowers are all yellow and have long spurs on the petals. Flowers in June.

Where is Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii) located in the wild?


In mountains especially along streams or in rocky ravines. Elevation range is 5,500 to 6,000 ft (1,696 to 1,850 m).


Endemic to Colorado; known from Fremont, El Paso, Jefferson, and Las Animas counties.

States & Provinces:

Golden Columbine can be found in Colorado

Which CPC Partners conserve Golden Columbine (Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

  • 08/26/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Seed collection and storage.

  • 08/26/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seed collection and storage.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program considers this variety as limited to Colorado. There are 10 occurrences with an estimated number of individuals around 1,500. Recreational uses may threaten one or more of the occurrences. The Flora of North America (Vol. 3, 1997) questions the distinctiveness of the variety rydbergii, saying that material seen displays traits which fall within the normal variation for the species.

Munz, Mary VB Goshorn
  • 01/01/2010

Most vulnerable to habitat loss caused by activities associated with recreation (Ladyman 2005). Much of the habitat for this taxon has already been severely altered and degraded. Occupied habitat on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest is currently managed

Munz, Mary VB Goshorn
  • 01/01/2010

6-20 occurrences

Munz, Mary VB Goshorn
  • 01/01/2010


Munz, Mary VB Goshorn
  • 01/01/2010

On both BLM and USFS Sensitive Species lists

Munz, Mary VB Goshorn
  • 01/01/2010

Documented inventory and monitoring activities are needed to clarify the status and vulnerability of Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii. Most of the occurrence information is derived from herbarium specimens or relatively casual observations by botanists and does not provide quantitative information on the abundance or spatial extent of the populations. The relatively few collections may not accurately reflect the number of sub-occurrences of this taxon (Kelso personal communication 2003). However, the taxon does appear to exist in only a few populations in a limited geographic range and within a restricted (moist) habitat (Ladyman 2005). The main information needs for Aquilega chrysantha var. rydbergii can be summarized as the following (from Ladyman 2005): Determine the genetic uniqueness of the taxon; Conduct inventory; Monitor known occurrences; Determine the impact of human activities on populations, in order to promote proactive steps towards threat mitigation; Rigorously define its habitat requirements; Clarify reproductive biology and population dynamics; Evaluate the abundance and vulnerability of the taxon throughout its range.

Munz, Mary VB Goshorn
  • 01/01/2010

Seed collection and storage.


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Taxon Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii
Authority Munz
Family Ranunculaceae
CPC Number 157
ITIS 184147
Duration Perennial
Common Names Golden Columbine | Rydberg's golden columbine
Associated Scientific Names Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii | Aquilegia chrysantha
Distribution Endemic to Colorado; known from Fremont, El Paso, Jefferson, and Las Animas counties.
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado S1
Ecological Relationships

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Butterflies & Moths
Sphinx moths Short tongued hawk moth Confirmed Pollinator Link

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