Stems: smooth. Leaves: ternate; leaflets round-cordate, three-parted, the segments coarsely toothed. Flowers: yellow, pendulous; petals five, with short spreading lips, and produced backwards into long tubular spurs; sepals reflexed, longer than the spurs.
This Columbine grows at great altitudes, and may be found amongst the rocks at a height of 8000 feet, where the soil is so light and sparse that there seems to be no foothold for any vegetation at all, much less for such tall and graceful plants as these Aquilegias, which stand from one to three feet high and bear abundant blossoms of pale yellow, pendent on their brittle stalks.
The foliage of the Yellow Columbine is much smaller and more delicate than that of A. formosa; but it is equally dark green above and pale green beneath. No prettier sight can be seen than clusters of these wild elfin flowers growing at the edge of some barren cliff, their fragile loveliness shining against a sombre background of stony walls, from the height of whose overhanging ledges the blossoms nod down at the traveller, as they sway and swing at the bidding of the breeze.