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Lupinus sparsiflorus

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About Coulter's Lupine (Lupinus sparsiflorus) Lupinus sparsiflorus, Coulter's lupine, is a species in the Fabaceae (Legume) family native to North America. In the United States it occurs in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah, and in Mexico it is found in Baja California and Sonora. In California it is found from the coast to the dry inland mountains of the southern part of the state. Other common names include Mojave lupine, a name it shares with Lupinus odoratus. This is an annual herb growing 20 to 40 centimeters tall. Each palmate leaf is made up of 7 to 11 very narrow leaflets up to 3 centimeters long and just a few millimeters wide. The flower cluster is a fuzzy spiral of several flowers each around a centimeter long. The flower is blue or purple, becoming darker with age, with a white to pink patch on its banner. There is one reocognized subspecies, ssp. mohavensis, which is found only in the desert or semi-desert areas of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb, Annual herb

Max. Height
0.7 - 1.3 ft (0.21 - 0.4 m)

Max. Width
1 ft (0.3 m)

Growth Rate

Flower Color
Blue, Purple

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Washes, sandy places


Elevation ?
-193' - 6768'

Annual Precip. ?
2.7" - 39.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.93"

Coldest Month ?
35.2° F - 60.6° F

Hottest Month ?
62.4° F - 89.6° F

Humidity ?
1.35 vpd - 40.40 vpd

Soil Description
Typically sandy or decomposed granite

Soil PH
6.0 - 8.2


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 15° F

Companion Plants
Can be used with a wide variety of coastal and inland shrubs, perennials and annuals, such as Manzanita (Arctostaphylos sp.), Ceanothus sp., Brittlebush (Encelia sp.), Poppy (Eschscholzia or Papaver sp.), Chaparral Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei), Chuparosa (Justicia californica), Mohave Yucca (Yucca shidigera), and various cactus species.

Wildlife Attracted
Various insects are attracted to the flowers. The lupinus genus is host plant to the Arrowhead Blue butterfly.

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Max. Summer Water ?
1x/month, 2x/month
No Summer Water
Keep moist


Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: Fresh seeds need no treatment. Stored seeds scarification or hot water.

Common uses
Bird Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Common Names
Mojave Lupine

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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