Lupine (Lupinus argenteus)

a stalk of purple flowers, backlit by sunlight coming through the forest canopy

Lupine (Lupinus argenteus)

Lupine, specifically, Silvery Lupine is typically found in Grand Teton National Park during the months of June through August. These flowers belong to the pea family and each flower has 5 petals: one keel, two wings, and two banners. A great diagram of these parts and more facts about flowers within the pea family can be found at

Because their petals are so discrete, it is quite easy to tell what plants belong to Family Fabaceae once you learn what the petals look like! If you want to find some Silvery Lupine and observe on your own, keep an eye out on the meadows and mountain slopes for these gorgeous flowers. Once the lupine blooms, they are easy to spot, even while passing by on the road. But, even before the flowers do bloom, they have recognizable leaves. They are a compound leaf with anywhere from five to nine leaflets that have a crease that runs down the middle of them.

Aside from being pretty plants, Lupine species keep soils fertile by fixing nitrogen, thus aiding other plants as well. Lupine was cultivated in different cultures like in Egypt, areas in the Mediterranean, Rome, and Native Americans to keep their soils rich. The Native Americans also used the leaves in a col tea for some medicinal uses.  Do you know any fun facts about these plants?

Written by Anna Cressman
PC: Anna Cressman