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Mr. Smarty Plants - Information about Lady Lupine (Lupinus villosus)

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Sunday - April 20, 2008

From: Bryceville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Seeds and Seeding, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Information about Lady Lupine (Lupinus villosus)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, Lady Lupine grows in our yard in northeast Florida, and I would like to learn more about it, especially the stages it goes through, like now the purple petals themselves are changing to a feather-like stage. I have not been able to find any information on this. Can you guide me? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has no personal knowledge of Lupinus villosus (lady lupine) and there doesn't seem to me much information about the life cycle of this plant. There are descriptions in several books, however. The majority say that it is a perennial (Bell and Taylor, "Florida Wild Flowers and Roadside Plants"; Taylor, "Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities"; and Duncan, "Wildflowers of the Eastern United States"). However, Nelson, "East Gulf Coastal Plain Wildflowers" calls it a "robust annual or biennial".

Duncan says: "This species to 50 cm. from a deep woody taproot. Stems mostly decumbent, a few to many in a dense clump. Leaves evergreen and simple, which is unusual for lupines since almost all have deciduous palmately compound leaves. Standard purple to reddish with a deep reddish-purple spot."

So, considering that it is perennial (going with the majority) and evergreen, the leaves should persist year round and the blossoms (if they have been fertilized) should produce fruits in the form of pods with seeds inside. The leaves might die down some in the winter but will be replaced in the spring. You might consider gathering the seeds for planting if you are wanting to introduce more into your garden since we suspect that large plants will be difficult to transplant. You should leave established wild-growing plants where they’re growing and collect a few seeds for propagation. You should try to duplicate wild-growing conditions as much as possible in the garden.


Lupinus villosus

Lupinus villosus

 

 

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