Stems 20-70 cm. Basal leaves 2×-ternately compound, 8-30 cm, much shorter than stems; leaflets green adaxially, to 14-42 mm, not viscid; primary petiolules to 13-67 mm (leaflets not crowded), glabrous or pilose. Flowers nodding; sepals perpendicular to floral axis, yellow or tinged with pink, elliptic-lanceolate to oblong, 12-22 × 4-10 mm, apex obtuse to acute or sometimes acuminate; petals: spurs yellow, tips incurved, 10-18 mm, stout, evenly tapered from base or more abruptly narrowed near middle, blades cream colored, oblong, 7-10 × 4-8 mm; stamens 12-17 mm. Follicles 18-27 mm; beak 8-10 mm.
Flowering summer (Jun-Aug). Moist mountain meadows and alpine slopes; 1300-3500 m; Alta., B.C.; Idaho, Mont., Oreg., Utah, Wash., Wyo.
Aquilegia flavescens sometimes forms hybrid swarms with A . formosa var. formosa , which grows at lower elevations through much of its range. Intermediate specimens having pinkish red flowers and petal blades 5-6 mm are occasionally found where these species grow together. The name A . flavescens var. miniana has sometimes been mistakenly applied to these intermediates, but the type of var. miniana is a typical, pink-sepaled plant of A . flavescens .