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The blue spires of Lupine are a welcome sight in late spring and early summer. Lupine is an excellent plant for dry sandy soils where so many other plants struggle, but it will not do well in clay soils.
This perennial wildflower is 1-2½' tall.
Butterflies, Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Host Plant, Deer Resistant
Flowers are in a spike-like cluster to 8 inches long. Individual flowers are ¾ to 1 inch long and a typical pea-shape, on a short stalk. The lower parts of the flower are blue. The upper parts may be blue, or two-tone blue and purple, or blue and white. Both upper and lower parts have many darker blue veins running through them. The lower parts are forced open by insects to reveal a horn-shaped stamen. One plant has multiple spikes. Leaves are divided into 7 to 11 leaflets, radiating from a central point at the end of a long stalk. Leaflets are hairy, up to 2 inches long and ½ inch wide, have rounded tips, often with a small sharp point at the apex, and taper at the base. Stems are hairy to varying degrees and may become smooth with age. The seed pod is up to 2 inches long, hairy, shaped like a typical pea pod, and turns black when mature. Each pod contains 2 to several seeds
The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by honeybees, bumblebees, digger bees (Synhalonia spp.), Mason bees (Osmia spp.), and other long-tongued bees. Other floral visitors include Halictid bees and bee flies. Only pollen is available as a floral reward, which is forcibly ejected into the faces of such insect visitors. Occasionally, the Karner Blue and other butterflies visit the flowers, searching in vain for nectar. Several insects feed on the foliage and other parts of Wild Lupine. These insect feeders include caterpillars of the butterflies Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Karner Blue) and Callophrys irus (Frosted Elfin), and caterpillars of the skippers Erynnis baptisiae (Wild Indigo Duskywing) and Erynnis persius (Persius Duskywing). The caterpillars of several moths also feed on Wild Lupine: Caenurgina crassiuscula (Clover Looper), Grammia phyllira(Phyllira Tiger Moth), Grammia placentia (Placentia Tiger Moth), Utetheisa bella (Bella Moth), and Walshia miscecolorella (Sweet Clover Root Borer). Other insects feeders include Empoasca fabae (Potato Leafhopper), Hadronema militaris (Military Plant Bug), and seed-eating larvae of the weevil Apion minor. The foliage is toxic to sheep and horses, however deer, rabbits, and woodchucks occasionally browse on Wild Lupine.
5064 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg, PA
in-store shopping closed until March 1, 2024
Seth H. Richards
Locally owned and Family Operated Since 1932.
Dr. John Richards established Richards Tree Farm in Middle Smithfield, PA as an evergreen farm. Building on those roots, his Great Grandson, Seth Hastings Richards, has grown the farm into a full service Garden Center and Landscape installation business for the past 25 years. The farm specializes in Organic Gardening, Edible, Native, and Unique plants.