BROOKLYN CANDIDATE: Red Columbine
Brooklyn Bridge Park is proud to select Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern Red Columbine) as Brooklyn’s candidate for NYC’s official wildflower. This Northeast native woodland wildflower is already a commonly utilized and beloved plant to our region. Offering beautiful green to reddish stems, which act as the frame, tying together stunning glaucous light green to blue green foliage throughout the year.
One of Eastern Red Columbine’s greatest attributes, is its pink to red drooping flower! The flowers are composed of five upright spurred petals, which to Rashid Poulson, Director of Horticulture at BBP, symbolizes of the unison between the five boroughs. This wonderous & tubular flower has evolved to hold nectar in its long tubes; which is accessible to specialist fauna like long-tongued bees and Ruby-throated hummingbirds.
This hummingbird is believed to rely on Aquilegia’s nectar as a food source during its Spring migration. This crucial relationship between plants and animals illustrates the important job for gardeners and horticulturalists to observe and appreciate the ecosystems and dependent connections within nature and our City’s greenspaces. Planting for the Park’s animal visitors is an important management practice.
Referred to as “a plant for the masses,” Aquilegia canadensis is able to grow in part- to full-shade conditions, hold its own during droughts and in lean soils, and can be the ideal plant for home gardens, public spaces, and restoration projects. With its beautiful shape and color and resilience and hardiness, the Aquilegia canadensis will surly hold a place in New Yorkers’ hearts and minds as NYC’s Official Wildflower.