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Lupinus polyphyllus (Bigleaf lupine)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Lupinus polyphyllus

Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.

Bigleaf Lupine, Blue-pod Lupine, Meadow Lupine, Bog Lupine

Fabaceae (Pea Family)


USDA Symbol: lupo2

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

Blue-pod lupine or meadow lupine is a 3-5 ft., robust perennial with bold, rich-green, palmate leaves and stately spires of large, deep-blue, purple or reddish flowers. 1 or several mostly unbranched, stout, hollow stems with violet or blue-violet pea flowers in long dense racemes.

This somewhat succulent lupine is one of the tallest and lushest western species. It has been crossed with other lupines, particularly Tree Lupine (L. arboreus), for beautiful horticultural hybrids. This species is widely naturalized and often invasive in northeastern US and eastern Canada.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Fruit Type: Legume
Size Notes: Up to about 5 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: May


USA: AK , CA , CO , ID , MT , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: Coast Ranges from CA to AK; e., primarily in the mountains, to AB. & CO.
Native Habitat: Primarily streambanks, meadows & other moist or wet places. Also grows on mesic soils.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, cool soils.


Use Wildlife: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Warning: 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.)

Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Hummingbirds

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: Sow seeds in fall or divide mature plants in spring or late summer. Seeds may be slow to germinate.
Seed Collection: The wooly, 1-2 in. pod fruit contains 5-9 mottled seeds which turn dark brown at maturity.
Seed Treatment: Fresh seeds need no pretreatment, but dry seeds need scarification. The latter can be steeped for twelve hours in water brought just to a boil.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

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

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-30
Research By: TWC Staff

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