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Lupinus polyphyllus (large-leaved lupin)

Large-leaved lupin is one of the most spectacular perennial lupins native to western North America.
Lupinus polyphyllus purple flowers

Lupinus polyphyllus (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC by 3.0)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.

Common name: 

large-leaved lupin, garden lupin (UK); bigleaf lupine, meadow lupine, blue pod (USA)

Conservation status: 

Not assessed according to IUCN Red List criteria but not considered to be threatened.


On moist, generally well-drained soils; in mesic mountain forests, meadows, sage brush and pine forests, often on riversides.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental, fodder, green manure.

Known hazards: 

Ingestion of any part of a Lupinus can cause gastrointestinal upset or more severe symptoms if large quantities are consumed.


Leguminosae/Fabaceae - Papilionoideae
Genus: Lupinus

About this species

Lupinus polyphyllus was introduced to Europe from North America by the famous explorer and plant collector David Douglas. Formerly widely grown as a striking garden plant in its own right, L. polyphyllus is one of the parents in crosses that formed the renowned Russell Hybrids, Lupinus × regalis, which became a popular garden ornamental in the UK from the late 1930s onwards.

The genus takes its name from the Latin lupus, meaning wolfish, in reference to the mistaken belief that this plant devours nutrients from the soil. A member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae), large-leaved lupin can actually enhance soil fertility with the help of nitrogen-fixing bacteria within special root nodules.


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