Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Photo: wild lupine, Glacier National Park

Lupine means wolf-like, a name given because of a belief that the plant ravaged the soil. The blue wildflower grows profusely BC, often included in my childhood bouquets. Like fireweed, it spreads easily in cleared areas. Lupine likes sandy soil and needs plenty of sunlight to flower.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources states that lupine leaves are the only food source for the larvae of an endangered species.Thus the plant is sown in semi-wild disturbed areas in an effort to increase the habitat of the Karner blue butterfly. Lupine is also a garden plant.

Traditionally, lupine was used in fodder to fatten horses and make them spirited. The leaves were also steeped in tea by the Cherokee people to stop bleeding and vomiting. 

However, according to Sophie Johnson, some types of lupine are toxic due to their high alkaloid content. Another name for the flower is bluebonnet.

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