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Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine) | NPIN
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Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Lupinus perennis

Lupinus perennis L.

Sundial lupine, Wild lupine

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s):

USDA Symbol: LUPE3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)

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.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Palmate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Legume
Fruit:
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: Flowers rarely pink or white.

Distribution

USA: AL , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
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

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
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.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: 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: yes
Attracts: Butterflies , Hummingbirds
Larval Host: Karner Blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa sub. samuelis), Frosted Elfin butterfly (Callophrys irus)

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Lupinus perennis is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Frosted Elfin
(Callophrys irus)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA
Elf
(Microtia elva)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Best propagated from dry, treated seed in spring. Fresh-sown seed does not need treatment. Do not plant more than 3/4 in. deep. Does not transplant well due to deep tap root
Seed Collection: Fruit is a hairy pod. Collect in late Jun. to early Jul. Seedhead explodes.
Seed Treatment: Scarification, inoculation, moist stratification for 10 days. Soil should be inoculated before swoing seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

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April 23, 2008
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From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
Ohio Prairie Nursery - Hiram, OH
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle
Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.1 - A Glorious Spring, Lupines in Landscapes, Director's Report, Notable Quote, Wild...

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lupinus perennis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lupinus perennis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lupinus perennis

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff

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