DENVER (KDVR) — While heading out on a spring hike, you might come across the beautiful white and lavender flower that has been designated as Colorado’s state flower. But be warned, columbines are only meant to be admired because it is illegal to pick them.
The Aquilegia caerulea, more commonly known as the Colorado blue columbine or the Rocky Mountain columbine, was adopted as the state flower on April 14, 1899.
According to the Colorado General Assembly, a statewide contest asked schoolchildren across Colorado to pick the state flower, and the columbine won with more than 14,000 votes.
Typically, columbines bloom from May to July and can be spotted all over the state. But did you know it is actually unlawful to pick a columbine?
According to the Colorado General Assembly, it is the duty of Colorado citizens to protect the state flower from needless destruction or waste. In 1925, a state law was created to prohibit the uprooting of the flower on all public lands and limit the gathering of the flower to 25 stems, buds, or blossoms per day.
When it comes to private land, columbines cannot be picked without the consent of the landowner.
So, the next time you adventure out to Colorado’s high country and spot one of these beautiful wildflowers, remember to look but never take one home.