Aquilegia vulgaris

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Columbine


Columbine is a tall plant of woodland rides, fens and damp places, and is also a favourite cottage-garden plant, various forms often escaping into the countryside. Its nodding, bonnet-shaped, purple flowers appear in May and June and will self-seed in a garden to provide a colourful and wild border, great for nectar-loving bees.

How to identify

Columbine can be recognised by its characteristic purple or blue (rarely white), chandelier-like flowers. Garden escapees come in many other colours and forms.

Where to find it

Widespread, found throughout the country, but never common.


When to find it

  • May
  • June

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture, the loss of ponds through development and the removal of wet woods, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: plant Columbine and other natives in borders to provide early nectar for insects. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Aquilegia vulgaris
Height: up to 1m
Conservation status