Wild columbine is a common wildflower throughout the eastern and central portions of Canada and the United States. In eastern North America, it reaches its southernmost limit in Jackson, Liberty, and Washington counties in Florida, where it is a state-listed endangered species. Wild columbine is often promoted as a hummingbird plant and hummingbirds do indeed visit the flowers; however, plants in bloom will also attract native bees as well as hawk moths and sphinx moths.
The plant in the photograph above was given to me as a seedling last year (from a garden in Vermont!) and opened its first flowers this week. Wild columbine will grow and flower in south Florida; however, it usually behaves as an annual or short-lived perennial that seldom lives past one or two years of age.
Image and text © 2013 Rufino Osorio