Arctic Lupine (Lupinus arcticus)

Arctic Lupine: Lupinus arcticus

Bloom time: June – July

Additional photos:

General: The arctic lupine is a bushy herb (15-50 cm tall), with hullow, upright stems covered in long silky white hairs.

Leaves & Twigs: The leaves are made up of six-to-eight pointed leaflets that look like fingers of a hand, and grow from the base of the plant on long stalks.

Flowers & Fruits:

  • Flowers range from medium blue to a purple lavender culour and bloom from the bottom up in a cluster around a central stalk.
  • The fruits are yellowish, hairy pods (2-4 cm long) which twist after opening.

Habitat: Prefers open areas (including gravel), grassy alpine slopes, moist tundra, heath and woodland. Lupines are well adapted to northern climates, and can enrich soils that have low nitrogen levels.

PlantWatch Pointers: Select a typical patch of plants, if the plants are very abundant, mark off a l-metre-square section to observe.

To Observe:

  • First bloom: when the first flowers are open in the observed plants (3 places).
  • Mid bloom: when 50% of the flowers are open in the observed plants.

Distribution Map:

This species is monitored in:

  • Northwest Territories
  • Yukon

In the Yukon, 10,000- to 15,000-year-uld lupine seeds were found in ancient lemming burrows. Not only did the seeds germinate, one plant grew flowers that produced new seeds.