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Lupinus luteolus

Lupinus luteolus Kellogg

Pale Yellow Lupine, Butter Lupine

Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Synonym(s): Lupinus milo-bakeri

USDA Symbol: LULU2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Crowded whorls of yellow pea flowers in long racemes on branched stems.

As a lupine pod matures and dries, its walls become elastic and finally burst open, instantly curling and throwing the seeds some distance. On warm afternoons these opening pods can be heard softly popping, and a person standing in a patch of mature lupines may be hit by flying seeds.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: White-Gray

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Usually yellow, occasionally pinkish or blue.


Native Distribution: Southern Oregon south to southern California.
Native Habitat: Dry slopes and flats in open forests and on grassy slopes.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium


Warning: Plants in the genus Lupinus, especially the seeds, can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their
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.

Web Reference

Webref 30 - Calflora (2018) Calflora
Webref 37 - Calscape (2019) California Native Plant Society
Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-06-07
Research By: TWC Staff

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