E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lupinus arcticus S. Watson subsp. arcticus
arctic lupine
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Virginia Skilton  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #75092)

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Distribution of Lupinus arcticus subsp. arcticus
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Species Information

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Perennnial herb from a branched, woody stem-base; stems several, erect to ascending, 20-60 cm tall, with mostly short, appressed to spreading, silky hairs
Most basal on long stalks (in the north) to most along the stem and alternate on short stalks (in the south), palmately compound; leaflets 6 to 10, narrowly oblanceolate to elliptic, pointed to rounded at the tip, 2-9 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, glabrous or sparsely hairly above, stiff-hairy below.
Inflorescence a terminal raceme of numerous, more or less whorled pea-like flowers, the racemes 5-15 cm long on stalks 4-8 cm long; corollas blue, rarely whitish to pink, 14-20 mm long, the banner circular and notched at the tip, glabrous, the wings usually glabrous, the keel glabrous or with a few fringing hairs along the upper edges; calyces 2-lipped, the lower lip 5-11 mm long, the upper lip 2-toothed at the tip, 4-8 mm long.
Pods, 2-4 cm long, silky to coarse-hairy; seeds 5 to 8
Two subspecies, which intergrade where their ranges overlap, occur in BC.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic meadows, gravel bars, clearing, roadsides, thickets, and open forests in all zones; ssp. arcticus -- common in BC N of 55 N, ssp. subalpinus -- common in BC Sof 55 N, except absent from the Queen Charlotte Islands; ssp. arcticus -- N to AK, YT and NT, ssp. subalpinus -- S to N OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Lupinus arcticus ssp. arcticus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1323 1557 1677
Slope Gradient (%) 17 32 49
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 61 229
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 1 2
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(2), SWB(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Lupinus borealis A. Heller
Lupinus donnellyensis C.P. Sm.
Lupinus gakonensis C.P. Sm.
Lupinus multicaulis C.P. Sm.
Lupinus multifolius C.P. Sm.
Lupinus nootkatensis var. kiellmannii Ostenf.
Lupinus polyphyllus subsp. arcticus (S. Watson) L. Phillips
Lupinus relictus Hultén
Lupinus yukonensis Greene

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References