Lupinus bicolor Lindl. ssp. bicolor ( L. micranthus Dougl. var. bicolor [Lindl.] S. Wats., L. vallicola Heller ssp. apricus [Greene] Dunn)
Annual, brown-hairy herb, 10-45 cm tall, erect or nearly so. Leaves palmately compound; 5-8 leaflets, to 4 cm long, hairy above (not below). Flowers blue and white, pea-like, small (to 7 mm long); in short clusters. Fruits are slightly hairy pods to 3 cm long. Photo by Dave Polster.
Open, gravelly and sandy sites; at low elevations.
Dry to moderately dry.
Roots were roasted or pit-cooked, then peeled and often dipped in oolichan grease, before being eaten by the Haida, Tlingit, Lower Chinook and probably other northwest groups. The Haida also dried the roots into cakes - called ‘black bear’s tails’ - for winter use.
Several lupines contain toxic alkaloids and should be considered poisonous unless demonstrated otherwise. Lupines fix nitrogen and fertilize poor soils.
April to May
fruit ripening time
May to August
seed collection time
As pods begin to ripen.
no seeds per kg
Up to 5000
>90%, even in stored seeds.
collection and abstraction
Because pods of lupines pop open when ripe, and disperse their seeds, pods must be collected while still somewhat green. Immature pods should be gently air-dried until they pop and shed their seeds. Coarse materials can be screened from the small (up to 4 m long) seeds. In general, when mature lupine seeds have been well dried, they can be stored for extended periods – up to 30 years at room temperature have been recorded.
fruit seed dormancy treatment
Stored lupine seeds have very hard seedcoats that require pretreatment to induce germination. Mechanical scarification, steeped hot water (just off the boil) for 12 hours, and stratification at 1-2 ºC for 10-11 weeks have induced prompt germination. The latter method is the easiest and safest. Seeds should be sown into light gritty, and well drained, soil.
additional info and photos
For more information and pictures, visit the E-Flora BC website at www.eflora.bc.ca.