Large-leaved Lupine

  

(Lupinus polyphyllus)

Large-leaved-lupine is a perennial wildflower native to western North America. Found in Open fields, forest edge, stream banks, meadows, and wetlands in areas of moist, well drained to sandy soil.

The plant can grow up to 5 feet or lower and spreading by rhizomes. Leaves are uniquely whorled (palmately compound). Long spikes of showy blue or purple flowers are lupine's most prominent feature. Bloom times happens from May to July becoming large, soft hairy seed pods from July to September.

Large-leaved-lupine is widely cultivated, with many different coloured varieties available. It's a nitrogen fixing legume (can fertilize its self); is able to thrive in poor, sandy soils, but intolerant of rich clay or heavy soils. Low maintenance in the landscape, tough and resilient when established

Native wild lupine (not cultuvars) are ecologically important. Larvae of the endangered Karner Blue butterfly rely on the plant for food. Wild lupine also attracts pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, native bees, and bumble bees. The plant Has a symbiotic relationship with bacteria in its roots, allowing nitrogen fixing, and is sometimes applied as a 'green manure' cover crop to enrich the soil prior other plantings. Can be used in restoration projects to recover logged areas and in erosion control (for its deep roots); sometimes also grown as fodder for livestock.