Sicklekeel Lupine (Albicaulis)

The Sicklekeel Lupine (Albicaulis) is generally described as an annual forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the fall and winter and spring . The Sicklekeel Lupine (Albicaulis) has green foliage and inconspicuous blue flowers, with a smattering of conspicuous black fruits or seeds. The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late summer, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Sicklekeel Lupine (Albicaulis) has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Sicklekeel Lupine (Albicaulis) will reach up to 3 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 0 inches.

The Sicklekeel Lupine (Albicaulis) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by seed. It has a moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below 47°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Wildlife: Several species of birds use the seed for food and the stemmy growth for cover. Rabbits and other small game also use this plant for cover.

Crops: For nitrogen fixation, pine lupine can be seeded as a winter green manure cover crop or used in reforestation projects. Species toxicity to livestock and wildlife is not known; however the cultivar ‘Hederma’ did not produce toxic symptoms in sheep or calves in a feeding trial.

Erosion control: Because of pine lupine’s rapid growth, it can be used on critical erosion sites, including droughty, steep, low fertility slopes.

Recreation and beautification: The plant’s showy floral display and pleasant scent makes it appropriate for landscape uses around residential areas and within parks where a tall, short-lived wildflower is desired.

General Characteristics

Lupinus albicaulis Dougl. ex Hook., pine lupine, is a native, rapid-developing, deep tap-rooted, multi-stemmed, erect forb, 2½ to 5 feet tall. The plant may be an annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial in various parts of its range. In Oregon, its habit is like a subshrub. The leaves are alternate, palmately compound, with 5 to 9 leaflets that average 1½ inches long. Attractive purple to white banner-type flowers appear in late May and last for about 3 weeks. The seeds are compressed, brown to black in color and mottled with gray. There can be 11,000 to 29,000 seeds per pound.

Required Growing Conditions

Pine lupine is adapted to dry slopes and openings of western Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and northern California at all elevations below 8,000 feet with a precipitation range of 25 to 80 inches. Persistence is best on disturbed or seasonally changing sites such as sand dunes or dredge spoils where competition is reduced. Best growth and development are achieved when the plant is grown in full sun. It is an excellent pioneer species.

Cultivation and Care

Pine lupine can be seeded either in early fall or in the spring at 4 to 20 pounds per acre, depending on the site and seed mixture desired, and at a depth of ½ to ¾ inch. Strips for landscaping or wildlife use can be broadcast seeded at about 20 pounds per acre. For all conservation uses pine lupine can be seeded alone at about 10 pounds per acre, or with companion grass-legume mixtures, or into existing grass stands at 4 to 15 pounds per acre, depending upon need.

General Upkeep and Control

Because of its rapid growth, pine lupine shades out a majority of weeds and lessens the need for intense weed control after establishment.

For seed production, pine lupine can be produced on most well-drained tillable soils. Fields planted in late summer or early fall at 10 pounds per acre in 24 inch rows produce an excellent seed crop the following year. When harvested, it acts as a biennial and only produces 1 crop of seed. Because of seed shatter, the seed crop should be windrowed several days before harvest and rolled on tarps to dry. Plant material has also been successfully windrowed on 6 foot wide sheets of paper.

Pests and Potential Problems Insect damage is significant only during seed production and is controlled with normal spray programs. Powdery mildew is common in some years but is not considered a problem for the intended use.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Hederma’ (Oregon) is a short-lived perennial; in its area of adaptation, it may survive 3 to 4 years, but it tends to act as an annual. It is intended for use in western Oregon, western Washington, and northwestern California only, for sites in the elevation range of 0 to 3,000 feet. While the plant exhibits partial dieback in the winter, it has some evergreen stems and foliage. This material produces about 20,000 seeds per pound. Seeds are available from several commercial seed sources.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Period Fall, Winter, Spring
Growth Duration Annual
Lifespan Short
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Summer
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Single Crown
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 3
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Blue
Flower Conspicuousness Yes
Fruit/Seed Abundance Low
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Moderate
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required No
Minimum Temperature 47
Soil Depth for Roots 10
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Regrowth Rate Slow
After-Harvest Resprout Ability No
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 6–7 pH
Precipitation Range 35–35 inches/yr
Planting Density 0–0 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 10
Minimum Frost-Free Days 180 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance None
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Low
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating Low

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA