Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Miniature Lupin (Lupinus bicolor)

Miniature Lupin near the parking lot of Almaden Quicksilver

The Lupin family is one of the most common native flowers and most easily identified flowers in the western united states. Lupin loves sunlight and grassy slopes and is so ubiquitous in California it frequently grows on the side of roads and freeways wherever grass can be supported as well. Alpine Lupin is the Sierra Nevada variety of the flower and grows at high elevations. Lupin's are most commonly a purple-blue with accent colors of white or black and depending on the species stands between 6 inches to 3 feet tall. 

The shape of a lupin and its bright color are its most distinctive qualities. It grows on typically a fairly short stem with  

Miniature Lupin is the smallest and most delicate of the family seldom growing taller than 7”. Miniature Lupine has a long shelf-life and are one of the first flowers to blossom and the last to wilt away. It is frequently found in fields where other wildflowers are also growing.

Commonly confused with: Lavender (color), Indian Paintbrush (structure), Sweet Pea

Look for them: On your drive home from work along the side of the road.

Native Uses: Lupin is non-toxic but has no medicinal uses, parts of the plant can be used as a dye.

1 comment:

  1. You should add 'sweet peas' to the list of things people confuse that flower with, because that's what I always though it was! :)

    I learn so much from you!