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

Lupinus polycarpus Greene
small-flowered lupine (smallflower lupine)
Fabaceae (Pea family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20667)

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Distribution of Lupinus polycarpus
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Species Information

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Annual herb from a taproot; stems erect or nearly so, 15-45 cm tall, branched mostly at the base, sparsely appressed-hairy.
Alternate, palmately compound; leaflets 5 to 7, linear-oblong to narrowly elliptic, 1-4 cm long, upper surface glabrous and green.
Inflorescence a terminal raceme, 1-7 cm long, of relatively few, more or less whorled pea-like flowers, the racemes raised above the leaves on stalks; corollas blue, 5-7 mm long, the banner heart-shaped, glabrous, about as long as the glabrous wings and the keel, which is usually fringed with hairs on the upper edges; calyces about equally 2-lipped, the upper lip 2-lobed, the lower lip entire or 3-toothed.
Pods, up to 3 cm long, somewhat appressed-hairy or becoming glabrous; seeds 4 to 8, grey to brown with dark stippling or mottling.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry sandy or gravelly, grassy meadows and clearings in the lowland zone; locally frequent on SE Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, rare in Greater Vancouver; S to CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Lupinus polycarpus

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) 290 1049 1790
Slope Gradient (%) 0 8 25
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
85 299 324
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 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: CWH(3), ESSF(2), IDF(1), SBS(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 cool mesothermal.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Lupinus micranthus Douglas, non Guss.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References