Plants of Southern New Jersey

Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River & Its Tributaries
Photos by Renee Brecht    Plants of Southern NJ: Home Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River 

Plant Profile

Lupinus perennis

Wild lupine

Wild lupine
Lupinus perennis
Photo by Renee Brecht Britton and Brown. See credits below.
Botanical name: Lupinus perennis
Common name: Wild lupine
Synonomy n/a
Group: Dicot
Family: Fabaceae
Growth Type: Forb/herb
Duration: Perennial
Plant height: 1'-2'
Flower color: purplish-blue
Flower size: clustered on spikes of 4"-10"
Flowering/fruiting time Fl. early May to early June; fr: early June to early July.
Habitat: Open sandy ground and along the edges of woods
Range in New Jersey: A few stations in northern counties, but mainly a plant of the coastal plain and Middle district, though often found in the Pine Barrens and Cape May district.
Heritage ranking if any S3
Misc.: Leaves divided into 7-11 finy, hairy leaflets, wheel-like.

In Demographic and genetic factors affecting population viability of Lupinus perennis, an indicator species of Oak Savanna., Mitchell and Michaels note that "small and sparse populations often have low reproductive success, indicating that fragmentation of populations by human activities may prevent populations from being self-sustaining.".

 Lupinus perennis is the  larval host plant for both Karner Blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa sub. samuelis) Frosted Elfin butterfly (Callophrys irus) .

The plant was once thought to deplete or "wolf" the mineral content of the soil; hence the genus name derived from the Latin lupus ("wolf"). Actually the plant and all the family enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form.
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