Lupinus arboreus Sims
Yellow Bush Lupine, Bush Lupine, Tree Lupine
Fabaceae (Pea Family)
USDA Symbol: LUAR
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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow , Blue
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
DistributionUSA: CA , OR , WA
Native Distribution: Ventura to San Mateo Cos., CA; naturalized and invasive northward.
Native Habitat: Sandy, coastal places below 100 ft.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy soils.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Bumble Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationDescription: 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 DirectoryAccording 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
BibliographyBibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower 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 resourcesUSDA: Find Lupinus arboreus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lupinus arboreus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lupinus arboreus
MetadataRecord Modified: 2010-07-10
Research By: TWC Staff