Stems 30-120 cm. Basal leaves 2-3×-ternately compound, 9-45 cm, much shorter than stems; leaflets green adaxially, to 11-55 mm, not viscid; primary petiolules 20-50 mm (leaflets not crowded), glabrous or distally pilose. Flowers erect; sepals perpendicular to floral axis, yellow, lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, 20-36 × 5-10 mm, apex narrowly acute or acuminate; petals: spurs yellow, straight, ± parallel or divergent, 42-65 mm, slender, evenly tapered from base, blades yellow, oblong, 13-23 × 6-15 mm; stamens 12-25 mm. Follicles 18-30 mm; beak 10-18 mm.
Flowering spring-summer (Apr-Sep). Damp places in canyons; 1000-3500 m; Ariz., Colo., N.Mex., Tex., Utah; nw Mexico.
Colorado populations supposedly having spurs only 35-40 mm have been called Aquilegia chrysantha var. rydbergii . Material seen from this area falls within the normal range of variation of the species. Populations intermediate between A . chrysantha and A . coerulea var. pinetorum occur in northern Arizona (M. Butterwick et al. 1991).
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Welsh et al. 1993, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial with glabrous to pubescent stems, sometimes viscid-pubescent, 40-120 cm tall, often forming large clumps. Leaves: Basal leaves 10-60 cm long, mostly triternate, glabrous above and glabrous to finely puberulent or pubescent beneath, cauline leaves well developed. Flowers: On pedicels 3-10 cm long, erect, flowers 1-several, longer than broad, 5-8 cm long, sepals horizontally spreading, 12-25 mm long, clear golden yellow, lance ovate to lanceolate, petals golden yellow 8-15 mm long with yellow spurs 4-7 cm long, the spurs colored like sepals, stamens exceeding petal blades by 8-10 mm. Fruits: Follicle, usually 5-7, 2-3 cm long. Ecology: Found in moist soils from 3,000-11,000 ft (914-3353 m); flowers April-September. Notes: The flowers of this species are quite distinctive in their complex beauty, and the long yellow spurs are utterly unique. This species is generally found in the higher elevations, but is found along streams and at seeps and springs at lower elevations. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Aquilegia comes from Latin aquila, an eagle for the shape of the petals that look like an eagle talon, while chrysantha means with golden flowers. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley, 2010