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Wild Lupine

( Lupinus perennis )


Wild Lupine
Sundial Lupine
Lupinus perennis



Sun, Shade






Habitat Considerations

Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime, Mixedwood Plains

Woodland, Savannah, Prairie/Meadow/Field

Butterfly, Bird, Woodland, Prairie/Meadow
Design Considerations

20 cm

60 cm

Apr - Jul




Karner Blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa sub. samuelis)| Frosted Elfin butterfly (Callophrys irus)


Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Butterfly Larvae

Conservation Status

Interesting Tidbits

Aggressive; seeds poisonous. Ontario's only native lupine. Must be transplanted carefully; best left in one place. (Ontario Native Plants 2002) POISONOUS PARTS: Seeds. TOXIC IF EATEN IN LARGE QUANTITIES. Symptoms include respiratory depression and slow heartbeat, sleepiness, convulsions. Toxic Principle: Alkaloids such as lupinine, anagyrine, sparteine, and hydroxylupanine. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) The ingestion of 3 grams of lupin seeds per month for 8 years was associated with the development of motor neuron disease (spasticity and amyotrophy) such as seen with Lathyrus. Eating the seeds in large quantities can be fatal to humans or animals. Lupine alkaloids are not lost or detoxified when the plant is dried. (Ferris, H.) The plant and all the family enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form. (Niering) Habitat Information: Although widely dispersed in the U.S., wild lupine grows in pine barrens, prairies and oak savannah, dry open woods in Southwestern Ontario, within the Carolinian Zone. (Evergreen) Lupins don't respond well to transplanting, but they are easy to grow from seed. Although Lupinus perennis is now rare in the wild in southern Ontario, there a few stands in High Park, Toronto, and in Pinery Provincial Park (Lorraine Johnson, The New Ontario Naturalized Garden). This plant is a 'nitrogen fixer', which means that the plant has nodes along the roots which contain bacteria that take nitrogen from the atmosphere, and convert it into a form that plants can use. (Evergreen) When sowing seeds into a new area, treat with a rhizobium innoculation that supplies nitrogen fixing bacteria. This species will eventually provide nitrogen to the landscape, for this plant, and for other plants. (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) Insect Relationships: The plant is a caterpillar host, the only food for the Karner blue butterfly, now considered extirpated from Ontario. (Evergreen) Wild lupine is now rare in the U.S., and the Karner blue butterfly is now nearly extinct over its range in the U.S. (USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service) (Evergreen) Garden Info: This plant is an extremely attractive plant in gardens, and likes low fertility, preferring sandy and gravel soils. It is prone to rotting when seedlings are immature, and in soil that is too humus rich or wet. Traditional Edible, Medicinal Uses: The Menomini First Nations of North America fed lupin to horses to make them spirited. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) This lupine has established itself in NF. (NatureServe)

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