Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Lupinus arboreus (Yellow bush lupine)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Lupinus arboreus

Lupinus arboreus Sims

Yellow Bush Lupine, Bush Lupine, Tree Lupine

Fabaceae (Pea Family)



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

A 4-5 ft., shrub-like perennial with numerous short branches bearing silky, dark-green, palmately compound foliage. The pea-like flowers are usually yellow and occur on 6 in. spikes. Sometimes the flowers are lilac to blue or mixed. A large, round, bushy plant with palmately compound leaves and showy, sweet-scented, cone-like racemes of usually yellow "pea flowers" held just above the foliage at ends of short branches. Flowers occasionally violet or blue.

Lupines were once believed to be "wolf-like," devouring soil nutrients (the genus name comes from Latin lupus, meaning wolf). In fact, they "prefer" poor soil, which they do not further deplete. Tree Lupine, one of the most handsome species in the genus, grows rapidly, and its deep roots make it an effective and beautiful stabilizer of shifting coastal dunes; portions of San Francisco that were once unstable sand were reclaimed by Tree Lupine. However, its effectiveness at stabilizing coastal dunes has led to its introduction and subsequent invasion of areas north of San Francisco Bay where the species has pushed out native species and formed monocultures. The California Invasive Plant Council has declared Tree Lupine an invasive species outside its native range.


From the Image Gallery

2 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Blue
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun


Canada: BC
Native Distribution: Ventura to San Mateo Cos., CA; naturalized and invasive northward.
Native Habitat: Sandy, coastal places below 100 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

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.


Description: The best method of propagation is by seed. Plant immediately or stratify.
Seed Treatment: Cold stratification, mechanical scarification or a hot water soak will enhance the germination of stored seeds.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

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...
Wildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.4 - Research Update, Wild-Collecting Endangers Natives, Director's Report, Maryland ...

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2010-07-10
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back