Identifying Lupine Plants


A popular wildflower, lupine (Lupinus perennis) is native to the northeastern United States and Canada. Most often found in periwinkle blue or violet, lupine blooms in early summer. Lupine is a perennial, so once you've identified a stand of lupine plants you can expect to encounter them annually in the same location. The plant stalks can grow up to 4 feet tall. Lupine is readily planted from seed or from plant start.

Step 1

Examine the plant leaves. Lupine is easiest to distinguish by its foliage since it's very different from other plants. Lupine features seven to 11 leaflets that shoot off a center. Some types of lupine have hairy leaves and plant stems.

Step 2

Inspect the flower shape and color. All lupine flowers grow in clusters that are cone-shaped with the top narrower than the bottom. The individual flowers are small. While lupine is often violet or purple, it also has cones in pink or white.

Step 3

Note the growing environment and the season. Lupine can be planted in garden beds but it's also a wildflower. On its own, the plant grows in wooded areas or along roadsides and prefers full sun. Expect to find lupine in hardiness zones 3 to 9, which encompasses most of North America. Lupine flowers from April to June, so if your plant blossoms at other times it isn't lupine.


  • Texas A&M: Perennial Lupine
  • Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide: Perennial Lupine
  • Wildflower Information: Perennial Lupine
Keywords: growing lupine, identifying lupine, perennial lupine

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.