Aquilegia pubescens is a high-altitude species of columbine known by the common names Sierra columbine, alpine columbine and Coville's columbine. Its flowers are large and usually a creamy white.
This wildflower is endemic to California, where it is a resident of the High Sierra. It is found in alpine and subalpine climates, often on open, rocky slopes, between 8,000 and 12,000 ft..
This leafy columbine rarely reaches half a meter-1.5 feet in height. The showy flowers are erect or spreading, rather than drooping. The characteristic spurs may be up to 5 centimeters long and the flowers up to 5cm wide. The sepals (outer ring) and the petals (inner, with spurs) are generally cream or white, less often pink or yellow. The round, fused mouth protrudes, enclosing a cluster of long yellow stamens.
Aquilegia pubescens (Sierra columbine) can hybridize with the lower-elevation Aquilegia formosa (crimson columbine) where their ranges overlap. This produces flowers with intermediate color, spur length, and orientation, as shown in the transition-series image, providing a change also in pollinator species: hawkmoths for A pubescens and hummingbirds for A. formosa.