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     (Photo ID #15769)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Lupinus arcticus subsp. subalpinus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.


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)
1718 1270 2060
Slope Gradient (%)
15 0 52

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

164 45 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 1 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


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.