Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia
Lupinus perennis L.
Sundial lupine, Wild lupine
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Showy, elongate clusters of purple, pea-like flowers top the 1-2 ft. stems of this perennial
lupine. Blue, pea-like flowers are in an upright, elongated, terminal cluster on an erect stem
with palmately compound
leaves. Its leaves are palmately divided into 7-11 leaflets. Occasionally flowers range from pink to white.
The plant was once thought to deplete or wolf the mineral content of the soil; hence the genus
name derived from the Latin lupus
(wolf). Actually the plant and all the family enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form. In the south this flower has narrower leaflets and is often recognized as a separate species, Nuttals Lupine (L. nuttallii
). Two southern species with undivided elliptic
leaves are Spreading Lupine (L. diffusus
), with blue flowers and a whitish spot on the standard (upper petal), and Hairy Lupine (L. villosus
), a hairy plant with lavender-blue flowers and a red-purple spot on the standard. They are found from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. A species found in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado, Nebraska Lupine (L. plattensis
), has blue flowers with a dark spot on the standard and paddle-shaped leaflets. L. polyphyllus
is becoming extremely abundant in the Northeast, particularly Maine and adjacent Canada; it was introduced from the Northwest.
Image Gallery: 8 photo(s) available
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Flowers rarely pink or white.
AL , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC Canada: NB
, ON Native Distribution:
NH to s. Ont., n. IL, n. IN & e. MN, s. to FL & LA Native Habitat:
Sand hills & clearings; open woods USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(I)
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Dry, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Requires good drainage, but is very adaptable.
Deer browse foliage. Birds and small mammals eat the seeds. Warning:
Plants in the genus
Lupinus, especially the seeds, can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. POISONOUS PARTS: Seeds. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include respiratory depression and slow heartbeat, sleepiness, convulsions. Toxic Principle: Alkaloids such as lupinine, anagyrine, sparteine, and hydroxylupanine. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
The plant and all the family enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form. (Niering) Conspicuous Flowers:
Hummingbirds , Butterflies Larval Host:
Karner Blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa sub. samuelis), Frosted Elfin butterfly (Callophrys irus)
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for: