“The lupine is now in its glory. . . . The earth is blued with it.”
Henry David Thoreau, from The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. 6, Summer (June 4, 1857)
This photo from examiner.com reminds me of growing up:
Wild lupines grew in abundance near my childhood home in Northern California. Some of my best memories are of climbing grassy hills with my older sisters, plucking the lupines’ bluish purple stems along with orange California poppies, and bringing home wildflower bouquets.
I’m happy to have moved to a place where I can enjoy lovely lupines again ! It seems obvious when noting their shape that lupines belong to the pea family, Fabaceae or Leguminosae. The blue lupines, both wild and cultivars, are the most common. Pink lupines share the soil with blue ones at Coppertop, and I think they’re gorgeous, too.
The lupine gets its name from lupus, the Latin word for wolf; it was believed that the plant absorbed all the minerals from soil — “wolfing” those minerals. We now know lupines actually are nitrogen fixers; their roots have nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria that deposit nitrogen, helping the plants survive in poor soil. Here at Coppertop most of the lupines grow on a hillside that lacks nutrients, so I’m hoping these plants will enrich the soil as they offer their stately blooms.