Lupinus polyphyllus (Big Leaf Lupine) SE


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Plant Description: One of the larger lupines, producing several stems from a branched crown. Leaves are large and compound with 5-17 leaflets, each leaflet is elongated, oval, dark green above and pale below. The fruits are hairy pods. Inflorescence is a large spike (raceme) with individual pea flowers arranged in several dense whorls, ranging in color from white to bluish purple. Flowers are useful for bouquets. 

  • Height: 3-5 ft
  • Width: 2-3 ft
  • Watering needs: Low water
  • Sun needs: Full sun
  • Soil needs: Sandy, loamy soil
  • Bloom Time: May
  • Ripening Time: Seeds can be collected June-August
  • Portland Plant List (Backyard Habitat Certification): Yes

Landscape Use and Ecological Function: This native plant is common in the Western and Northeastern United States and Canada. Preferring moist habitats, Lupinus polyphyllus is usually found growing in moist to wet meadows near streams, bogs, or in open woods at low to mid elevations.

This plant attracts pollinators and is a nitrogen-fixing plant. We recommend planting in a meadowscape, food forest, or woodland garden environment. This plant also looks great in traditional or ornamental gardens. 

Some species of lupine seeds are poisonous to humans and livestock and should be considered when planting. Once established it often reseeds itself.

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