Wild blue lupine
Wild Blue Lupine (Lupinus perennis)
Wild blue lupine is a spring-blooming perennial wildflower. Its beautiful spikes of purple flowers bloom in mid-May through early June. Look also for their palmate compound leaves.
A member of the pea family, wild blue lupine has a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria. The bacteria help lupine to obtain nitrogen in poor soil conditions, an adaptation critical for survival in the pine barrens.
Habitat: Wild blue lupine prefers well drained soil conditions, and thrives in the sandy nutrient-poor soil of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. While they do not tolerate shade, they are adapted to surviving reoccurring wildland fire.
- Wild blue lupine is the host plant for two rare butterflies in the Albany Pine Bush: the frosted elfin and the federally endangered Karner blue.
- Wild blue lupine is also called “sundial lupine” because its leaves can rotate up to 90 degrees to track the sun.
- It was once thought that lupine depleted or wolfed the mineral content of the soil; earning it the genus name derived from the Latin lupus (wolf). For any Harry Potter fans, can you name the professor who shares the name with this wildflower, who was also a werewolf? (if you guessed Professor Lupin, you are correct!)
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