The Native Plant Database is retiring on May 31st

15 years ago, Evergreen launched the Native Plant Database as a tool to support our work in urban greenspace stewardship and restoration across Canada. In the years since, our focus as an organization has evolved and unfortunately we are unable to dedicate the necessary resources to maintain the Database in good order. After much deliberation, we have decided that it is necessary to decommission the Native Plant Database, effective May 31st, 2018.

After this date, the Database website will be taken offline. If you have registered an account, your personal information will be deleted from our server, including all saved plant lists. If you would like to save your lists or any plant information, please do so by printing it prior to May 31st.

If possible, it is our hope to transfer the Database to another organization who will continue to expand the work and contributions from Database visitors. If you work for an organization that would be interested in taking on this responsibility, please contact Thomas Hutle at Please note that due to the volume of inquiries we may not be able to respond immediately.

Thank you for your interest, contributions and support of our Native Plant Database.

Plant Detail

Lupinus perennis

* Common Name:

wild lupine, sundial lupine

* Genus:


* Species:



* Family (scientific):


* Family (common):


Synonyms :

* Distribution in Canada:



Photographer: Court Noxon.

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* denotes fields that are currently complete in the database. The other information is not yet complete.



Boreal Shield
Atlantic Maritime
Mixedwood Plains

Natural Habitat(s):

Woodland (35-60% cover)
Savannah (25-35% cover)

Habitat Garden(s):


Erosion Control?

Growing Conditions

* Plant Type:


Moisture Requirements: Dry

Light Requirements: Sun, Shade

Soil Requirements: Sand

Temperature Zone:



Average Height:

20 to 60 cm


Flower Info
Fruit/Seed Info

Showy flowers?


Showy fruit/seeds?


Bloom time:

Apr to Jul

Edible for humans?


Flower Colour(s):

Blue, Purple

Fruit/Seed Colour(s):


Fragrant Flowers?

Urban Oasis, Stewards in the City, and Eco Superior are specific Evergreen programs that some plants are used in.

Fragrant Foliage?

Program & Other Uses:

Urban Oasis

Fall colours?

Distinctive bark?

Poisonous to humans?


Thorns or prickles?

Attracts wildlife?

Butterfly Larvae

Larval host for:

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

Provincial tree/flower?

Plant Watch species?

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)

Poisonous Plants of N.C. State

Canadian BIF Butterflies



Ontario Native Plants: 2002 Resource Guide
Ontario Native Plants Company

National Audubon Society: Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region
National Audubon Society
Alfred A. Knopf, New York
ISBN: 0-394-50432-1

Ferris, Heather
Clinical Nurse Educator,
Ontario Regional Poison Information Centre