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(Lupinus perennis)

Host Plant: Frosted Elfin, Duskywings, Eastern Persius, Wild Indigo and Karner Blue

Nectar Plant: many insects

Flower Color: Blue, purple, pink, and white

Growth Habit: Herbaceous plant that grows to 2 feet tall

Range in North America: Eastern North America

Exposure: Full sun (northern US) and partial sun (southern US)

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Soil Requirements: Medium to well drained soil

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Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Lupine (Lupinus perennis) in a pine barren habitat.
Plants of Lupine (Lupinus perennis) — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alternative Names

Sundial Lupine, Indian Beet, Blue Lupine, Old Maid’s Bonnets

Description of Lupine (Lupinus perennis)

Lupine (Lupinus perennis), a member of the Fabaceae (Bean Family), is a herbaceous perennial, that grows to 3 feet tall and blooms in the spring and summer with blue/purple flowers.  Lupine has been in decline due to loss of habitat and fragmentation leading to the rarity of the Karner Blue butterfly, which is dependent on it.

More information on lupine can be found on this blog post.

Hosted Species

Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus)

Frosted elfin (Callophrys irus) on leaf.
Frosted Elfin on Leaf — pondhawk from Winter Park, Florida, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Juvenal Duskywing (Erynnis spp.)

Juvenal's Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis) on ground.
Juvenal Duskywing on Ground — Kaldari, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Karner Blue (Plebejus melissa samuelis)

Karner Blue Butterfly on a twig
Karner Blue on vegetation — USFWSmidwest, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Nectar Species

This plant is also favored by hummingbirds and bumblebees. (Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)


This lupine grows in open woods with full sun to part-shade.

Range of Lupine (Lupinus perennis) in the United States and Canada

Range map of lupine (Lupinus perennis) in the United States and Canada.

Interesting Facts

The genus name, Lupinus, is derived from the Latin genus name of the wolf (Lupus) (Missouri Botanical Garden).

Native Location

Ontario, Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone

Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


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