Aquilegia saximontana, the Rocky Mountain columbine, alpine dwarf columbine, dwarf blue columbine, or alpine columbine, is a perennial plant that comes from the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family.
A. saximontana can be found in sub-alpine and alpine areas at elevations of 3,300-4,000 m (10,800-13,100 ft) in the Rocky Mountains. This species of columbine blooms in July and August. The blooms are lavender and white, and the entire plant reaches 5-25 cm (2.0-9.8 in) in height. This plant is endemic (native only) to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, United States.
A. saximontana should not be confused with Aquilegia caerulea var. caerulea, which overlaps in range and may also have blue and white flowers. They can be identified by comparing the length of the "spur"-shaped backs of the flowers; A. saximontana has hooked spurs 3-9 mm (0.12-0.35 in) long, while A. caerulea has straight spurs 34-48 mm (1.3-1.9 in) in length.
There is some confusion as to which species of columbine is the official state flower of Colorado. The original documents referred to the state flower as being lavender and white in color and not of a particular species. Today, Aquilegia caerulea is considered the official state flower. Historically, however, A. saximontana may have a claim to be the "original" state flower of Colorado.
The following has been excerpted from The State of Colorado: