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Nootka Lupin

Lupinus nootkatensis

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Fabaceae (Pea)
Also in this family:
Alpine Milk-vetch, Alsike Clover, Birdsfoot, Birdsfoot Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Bithynian Vetch, Bitter Vetch, Black Broom, Black Medick, Bladder Senna, Broad Bean, Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, Bur Medick, Burrowing Clover, Bush Vetch, Clustered Clover, Common Broom, Common Gorse, Common Laburnum, Common Restharrow, Common Vetch, Crimson Clover, Crown Vetch, Dragon's Teeth, Dwarf Gorse, Dyer's Greenweed, False Acacia, Fine-leaved Vetch, Fodder Vetch, Garden Lupin, Garden Pea, Goat's Rue, Grass Vetchling, Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Bird's-foot Trefoil, Hairy Greenweed, Hairy Tare, Hairy Vetchling, Hairy-fruited Broom, Haresfoot Clover, Hop Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Hungarian Vetch, Kidney Vetch, Knotted Clover, Large Trefoil, Lesser Trefoil, Lucerne, Marsh Pea, Meadow Vetchling, Narrow-leaved Bird's-foot Trefoil, Narrow-leaved Everlasting Pea, Narrow-leaved Vetch, Norfolk Everlasting Pea, Orange Birdsfoot, Petty Whin, Purple Milk-vetch, Purple Oxytropis, Red Clover, Reversed Clover, Ribbed Melilot, Rough Clover, Russell Lupin, Sainfoin, Scorpion Senna, Scottish Laburnum, Sea Clover, Sea Pea, Sickle Medick, Slender Bird's-foot Trefoil, Slender Tare, Slender Trefoil, Small Melilot, Small Restharrow, Smooth Tare, Spanish Broom, Spanish Gorse, Spiny Restharrow, Spotted Medick, Spring Vetch, Strawberry Clover, Suffocated Clover, Sulphur Clover, Tall Melilot, Toothed Medick, Tree Lupin, Tuberous Pea, Tufted Vetch, Twin-headed Clover, Two-flowered Everlasting Pea, Upright Clover, Upright Vetch, Western Clover, Western Gorse, White Broom, White Clover, White Lupin, White Melilot, Wild Liquorice, Wood Vetch, Yellow Oxytropis, Yellow Vetch, Yellow Vetchling, Zigzag Clover
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Beaches, gardens, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, rocky places, sea cliffs, seaside, waterside.

Blue, 5 petals
Pea-like flowers in a spike. The flowers are usually bright blue but may be white or multi-coloured. Flowers are between 12 and 16mm in size. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit is a fuzzy, brown, pea-like pod, similar to that of a garden pea pod.
The leaves are palmate and are divided into 6 to 9 leaflets. Long-stalked. Perennial.
Other Names:
Blue Lupine, Dwarf Perennial Lupin, Nootka Lupine, Scottish Lupin.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Lupinus nootkatensis, also known as Nootka lupine, is a perennial herbaceous plant that is native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America, particularly the coastal areas of Alaska and British Columbia. It is known for its spikes of blue, purple, pink, or white flowers that typically bloom in late spring to early summer. The plant has palmate leaves and can grow up to 6 feet in height. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade, and it is hardy in zones 4-9. The plant is often found in rocky or gravelly soils, such as those found along coastal cliffs, beaches, or riverbanks. The plant is also a popular choice for gardens and as an ornamental plant due to its showy flowers and attractive foliage.


Nootka Lupin, scientifically known as Lupinus nootkatensis, is a beautiful plant species belonging to the legume family. It is native to the northern regions of North America, particularly Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. This plant is a fascinating species with a unique set of characteristics, making it an important part of the local ecosystem.


Nootka Lupin is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 2 meters tall. It has a thick stem and large leaves with a light green color. The plant produces showy flowers that come in a range of colors, including purple, pink, and white. The flowers are arranged in a dense, elongated cluster and have a sweet fragrance that attracts pollinators.


Nootka Lupin is commonly found in wetlands, meadows, and along the shores of rivers, lakes, and the ocean. It prefers moist soil and full sunlight but can also grow in partially shaded areas. The plant is hardy and can tolerate harsh winter conditions, making it an ideal species for revegetation projects in areas affected by erosion.

Ecological importance

Nootka Lupin plays a crucial role in the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest. The plant has nitrogen-fixing properties, meaning it can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form usable by other plants. This process helps to enrich the soil and promote plant growth. Additionally, the plant is an important food source for a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, moose, and rodents.

Human uses

The Nootka Lupin has several uses in human society. The plant has been traditionally used by indigenous people for medicinal purposes, including treating digestive disorders, skin conditions, and infections. The seeds of the plant are also edible and can be roasted or ground into flour for baking. Furthermore, the plant has been used for ornamental purposes in gardens and landscaping.


Despite its ecological and cultural importance, Nootka Lupin is facing several threats. The plant is susceptible to habitat destruction due to human activities, including land development and road construction. Additionally, the introduction of non-native species has led to competition for resources, which has negatively impacted the population of Nootka Lupin. As a result, conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of this important plant species.

Nootka Lupin is a fascinating plant species with unique ecological and cultural significance. It plays an essential role in the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest and has several uses in human society. However, the plant is facing several threats, and conservation efforts are crucial to protect and preserve this important species.

More Information about the Nootka Lupin

Nootka Lupin is a versatile plant species that has been used for a variety of purposes. In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, it has been used as a natural dye to create a range of colors, including yellow, green, and blue. The plant has also been used to make soap and shampoo, as well as for paper production.

One of the interesting facts about Nootka Lupin is that it has a symbiotic relationship with a specific species of bacteria called Bradyrhizobium sp. These bacteria live in nodules on the roots of the plant and help to fix atmospheric nitrogen, which the plant then uses for growth and development. This relationship is important for the health of the plant and the surrounding ecosystem.

Nootka Lupin has also been the subject of scientific research, particularly in the area of phytoremediation. This is a process where plants are used to remove pollutants from soil or water. Nootka Lupin has been found to be effective in removing heavy metals from contaminated soil, making it a promising candidate for environmental cleanup projects.

In terms of conservation, efforts are underway to protect and restore the habitat of Nootka Lupin. This includes the removal of non-native species and the implementation of land management practices that promote the growth and spread of the plant. The Nootka Lupin is also included in several conservation programs, including the USDA's Plant Materials Program and the Canadian Wildlife Service's Habitat Stewardship Program.

In conclusion, Nootka Lupin is a fascinating plant species with a range of ecological, cultural, and scientific significance. It has been used for various purposes throughout history and continues to be an important part of the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest. Conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of this valuable species, and ongoing research is needed to explore its potential in areas such as phytoremediation and sustainable agriculture.

List of Facts about the Nootka Lupin

Here are some facts about the Nootka Lupin:

  1. The Nootka Lupin (Lupinus nootkatensis) is a species of lupin that is native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America, including Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.

  2. The Nootka Lupin is a perennial plant that grows up to 1-2 meters tall, with leaves that are palmate and typically have 7-11 leaflets.

  3. The plant produces showy, purple-blue flowers that are arranged in dense spikes, which bloom from late spring to early summer.

  4. The Nootka Lupin is known for its ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, meaning it can convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by other plants.

  5. The plant is often used in land reclamation and soil remediation projects, as it can help improve soil quality and prevent erosion.

  6. The seeds of the Nootka Lupin are edible and have been used as a food source by indigenous peoples in the Pacific Northwest for centuries.

  7. The Nootka Lupin is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including skin conditions, respiratory problems, and digestive issues.

  8. The plant has also been studied for its potential use in biofuels and other industrial applications, as it produces high yields of oil and protein.

  9. The Nootka Lupin is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and landscaping, due to its striking flowers and attractive foliage.

  10. Despite its many benefits, the Nootka Lupin can also be considered an invasive species in some areas, as it can spread quickly and outcompete native plant species.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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