Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 4: 56-57, plate 1. 1893.
Stems 20-50 cm. Basal leaves 1-2×-ternately compound, 8-25 cm, much shorter than stems; leaflets green adaxially, to 10-25 mm, not viscid; primary petiolules 12-48 mm (leaflets not crowded), glabrous or sometimes pilose. Flowers erect; sepals perpendicular to floral axis, cream to yellow or pink, lance-oblong to ovate, (15-) 20-25 × 5-9 mm, apex obtuse to acuminate; petals: spurs cream to yellow or pink, straight, ± parallel or divergent, 25-40 mm, slender, evenly tapered from base, blades cream to yellow, oblong, 8-17 × 5-8 mm; stamens 13-16 mm. Follicles 20-25 mm; beak 10-12 mm. 2n = 14.
Phenology: Flowering summer (Jun–Aug).
Habitat: Open rocky places, alpine or subalpine
Elevation: 3000-4000 m
Aquilegia pubescens is endemic to the southern Sierra Nevada. It sometimes forms extensive hybrid swarms with A. formosa.