Big Leaf Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)

More size information here.

Who loves this plant more, humans or bumble bees?

Okay, it's the bumble bees.

But humans also love how beautiful these flowers look in their gardens. Spring through summer, it sends up bright purple-blue flower stalks. This is our largest native lupine, and when planted in a moist place, it can get quite large! It will often do well in drier areas too, though at a smaller size and a shorter bloom period.

If you watch closely while bumble bees forage at lupines, you can see them hang onto the upper petals with their mouth, while simultaneously pushing aside the lower petals and collecting pollen with their hind legs. Because they are larger and stronger than other bees, they can do this more proficiently. Large patches of lupine are often covered with these gentle creatures. Of course, the bees are not as large as hummingbirds, who will visit as well.

Photo credit: By Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Photo credit: "Lupinus polyphyllus field" by miss Murasaki is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Perennial (multiple years)
Full to part sun
Prefers moisture, can handle seasonal dryness
Can get up to about 4 feet in moist soil, less in dry soil. Leaves spread up to 3-4 feet.
Many blue-purple flowers on a showy vertical raceme
Bloom Period:
Spring through early summer
Clusters of large green leaves
Native Range:
West coast, Alaska through California.
Typical Habitat:
Moist meadows and sunny streambanks