Two people stand on a grassy hillside in the King Range Wilderness, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
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California Poppies Headwaters Forest Reserve Kayaker enjoying the California Coastal National Monument Headwaters Forest Reserve King Range National Conservation Area
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Arcata Field Office

Yellow Bush Lupine (Lupinus arboreus)


Legume Family (Fabaceae)


Yellow Bush Lupine Flowers
Photo courtesy of Walter Knight, California Academy of Sciences

Description: Yellow bush lupine is a large, tall < 6.5 feet (<20 decimeters) perennial shrub with showy, sweet-scented yellow flowers. Leaves are palmately compound (leaflets radiating from a common point like the fingers on a hand) and leaflets 5-12. Shrub is smooth and green to silvery and hairy. Its seed pods resemble peas.

Habitat: Coastal bluffs, dunes, and sometimes more inland. Probably native to Sonoma and Ventura counties, yellow bush lupine was originally introduced to the north coast in the early 1900's to stabilize sand along the railroad on the north spit, Samoa Peninsula. While it is native to drier, warmer areas of California, it is not native to the cooler, wetter climate of the north coast. On the north coast, it has become an agressive invader of dune communities and is a major threat to native foredune plant habitats as it irretrievably changes soil characteristics once established.

Distribution: Del Norte to Ventura counties.

Flowering Period: April through June