sundial lupine

(Lupinus perennis var. perennis)

Conservation Status
sundial lupine
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N3-N4 - Vulnerable to Apparently Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Sundial lupine is a 8 to 24 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on numerous stems from a well-developed taproot.

In its first year of growth this produces a rosette of basal leaves. In the second year it sends up several leafy, flowering stems.

The stems are more or less erect, slightly hairy, and marked with fine, vertical, parallel lines.

Stem leaves are alternate on ¾ to 2 long leaf stalks. They are palmately divided into 7 to 11 leaflets. The leaflets inversely lance-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end, ¾ to 2 long, with a blunt tip. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is thinly hairy. The leaf stalks are longer than the leaflets.

The inflorescence is an erect, 4 to 8 long cluster at the ends of the stems. The clusters are unbranched, sparsely flowered, and cone-shaped at the top.

The flowers are about 1 long and pea-like. The 5 petals are blue varying to pink and white, and are organized into a banner, 2 wings, and a keel formed by two petals fused together at the tip. The upper petal is shorter than the wings. The keel has a marginal fringe of hairs

The fruit is a yellow-grayish-brown, hairy, oblong, flattened pod with 5 or 6 seeds.




8 to 24


Flower Color




Similar Species


Bigleaf lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus var. polyphyllus) reaches 40 at maturity. Its leaves are divided into 11 to 17 leaflets with pointed tips. The inflorescence is densely flowered.


Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, open woods. Full to partial sun.




May to June


Pests and Diseases




Sundial lupine is the only plant used as food by the larva of the endangered Karner Blue butterfly.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.








Locally common

  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Rosanae  


Fabales (legumes, milkworts, and allies)  


Fabaceae (legumes)  
  Subfamily Faboideae  
  Tribe Genisteae (brooms, lupines, and allies)  
  Genus Lupinus (lupines)  
  Species Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)  
  Subspecies Lupinus perennis ssp. perennis (sundial lupine)  

Variety of a Subspecies
This is a variety of a subspecies, and some sources list it as Lupinus perennis ssp. perennis var. perennis. The ICN (International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants), the rules governing the naming of plant species, makes it clear that this is not correct. Following ICN rules, a taxa “may also be referred to” with the inclusion of the intervening name (in this case, “ssp. perennis”), but that does not constitute a formal name.




Lupinus perennis f. bicolor

Lupinus perennis f. leucanthus

Lupinus perennis f. roseus


Common Names




sundial lupine

wild blue lupine

wild lupine












Similar to a hand. Having more than three lobes or leaflets that radiate from a single point at the base of the leaf.

Visitor Photos

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Bill Reynolds

    sundial lupine      

The honeybee is attempting access. They need to separate the petals before entering.

  sundial lupine  





  Lupinus perennis (Wild Lupine)
Allen Chartier
  Lupinus perennis (Wild Lupine)  



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Minnesota Native Plant - Wild Lupine (Lupinus Perennis)

Published on Jun 9, 2013

This video shows the Minnesota Native, Lupinus Perennis, or Wild Lupine.

  Lupinus perennis (Wild lupine)
Derelict Drifter

Published on Aug 20, 2012

Does anyone know if this is edible?

  Nelson 3 - Wild Lupine.MP4

Uploaded on Nov 2, 2010

New England Wild Flower Society Horticulture Intern Nelson discusses Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine or wild lupine) in Garden in the Woods' New England Garden of Rare and Endangered Plants.




Visitor Sightings

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  Bill Reynolds

Location: St. Louis Co. MN

The honeybee is attempting access. They need to separate the petals before entering.

sundial lupine  




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