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

Lupinus arcticus subsp. subalpinus S. Watson (Piper & B.L. Rob.) D. Dunn
arctic lupine (subalpine lupine)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #15769)

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Distribution of Lupinus arcticus subsp. subalpinus
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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. subalpinus

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) 1270 1718 2060
Slope Gradient (%) 0 15 52
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
45 164 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 3 6
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: ESSF(29), IDF(1), MS(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 arcticus subsp. canadensis
Lupinus arcticus var. subalpinus (Piper & B.L. Robins.) C.P. Sm.
Lupinus glacialis C.P. Sm.
Lupinus latifolius var. canadensis
Lupinus latifolius var. subalpinus (Piper & B.L. Rob.) C.P. Sm.
Lupinus subalpinus Piper & B.L. Rob.
Lupinus volcanicus Greene
Lupinus volcanicus var. rupestricola C.P. Sm.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References