|Lupine (Lupinus sparsiflorus)|
DESCRIPTION: Annual to 16". Flowers are blue to violet, turning white, pealike, to 1/2" wide. Leaves palmately compound, with 5-9 leaflets, each to 1.5" long, green. Fabaceae (Legume) Family.
NATURAL HISTORY: Flowers bloom in spring. Called lupine, after the Latin word for "wolf," because people thought lupine robbed the soil of its fertility. Truth be known, lupine tends to grow on poor and disturbed soil (e.g., along roadways) and actually adds to the soil's fertility. Lupine is a member of the Fabaceae (Legume) Family, and like other members of the family, has a mutualistic relationship with bacteria that add nitrogen to the soil.