Wildflower article, Lady Lupine

Submitted by Eleanor Dietrich

Lady Lupine

This showy biennial wildflower (Lupinus villosus) can be seen now, growing on the back slopes of sandy roadsides March through June. The species name, villosus, means densely covered with long, curving hairs. Almost all parts of the plant are covered with these silvery hairs. The leaves are soft. This flower is in the pea family, so its blossoms have the typical pea structure with an upright petal (the standard) that has a dark purple spot on it; the rest of the petals are blue to lavender. The flowers grow densely along an upright stalk. Because it grows in very dry sandy soil, it must put down a long taproot in order to get water, and it can’t be transplanted.