Lupinus polyphyllus - Lindl.
Largeleaf Lupine
Other English Common Names: Bigleaf Lupine, Blue-pod Lupine
Other Common Names: bigleaf lupine
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl. (TSN 25921)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.134485
Element Code: PDFAB2B370
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Lupinus
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lupinus polyphyllus
Taxonomic Comments: Considered to be comprised of three subspecies, one of which has three varieties, and with L. burkei recognized as a distinct species (Kartesz 1999; Munz 1959); cf. Isely (1998), Hickman (1993), Barneby (1989), and Hitchcock et al. (1961).
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Jun1984
Global Status Last Changed: 07Jun1984
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5?
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4 (09Aug2002)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (SNR), California (SNR), Connecticut (SNR), Idaho (SNR), Maine (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Montana (SNR), Nevada (S4?), New Hampshire (SNR), New York (SNA), Oregon (SNR), Vermont (SNA), Washington (SNR), Wisconsin (SNR)
Canada Alberta (S1), British Columbia (SNR), Labrador (SNA), New Brunswick (SNA), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Nova Scotia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, CT, ID, MA, MEexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MT, NH, NV, NYexotic, OR, VTexotic, WA, WI
Canada AB, BC, LBexotic, NBexotic, NFexotic, NSexotic, ONexotic, PEexotic, QCexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Low
Rounded I-Rank: Low
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Lupinus polyphyllus does not seem to be a major threat to healthy, high quality natural areas currently, however it does seem to be developing as a problem in Alaska. It does have great opportunity for spread into natural areas because it is so widely seeded and planted as an ornamental and it also has potential as a nitrogen fixer to alter local nutrient levels where it colonizes. This species should be monitored for future spread.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Low
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Low/Insignificant
I-Rank Review Date: 15May2006
Evaluator: Davis, G.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to California north to British Columbia and in Idaho and Nevada (Hickman 1993).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
Provide feedback on the information presented in this assessment

Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Lupinus polyphyllus is native to western North America, but is introduced to eastern North America, including the northeastern U.S. and it is thought by most to be exotic in Alaska (USDA, ARS 2006, Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Lupinus polyphyllus has escaped from gardens to roadsides, fields, and open woods in the northeastern U.S. and adjacent Canada (GLIFWC 2006). In Alaska, Lupinus polyphyllus is well established in open to dense forest (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Low

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Moderate significance
Comments: The species is a nitrogen fixer which has been found in Lithuania to alter soil fertility to the extent that there are fast, irreversible changes of plant communities and entire ecosystems in native habitats (Gudzinskas 2005).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: The species may replace species in the herbaceous layer, but there are no studies that show it significantly alters the structure of that layer.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: The species forms dense colonies that exclude other vegetation (GLIFWC 2006).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No known reports of impact on a particular native species.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance
Comments: In the northeastern U.S. and Canada, typically established along roadsides (Voss 1985) and unmanaged fields (Don Cameron, pers. comm.). As of 2006 there is not abundant evidence of it colonizing rare communities or high quality natural areas, however a colony has been observed along a rivershore, which is a habitat that could be vulnerable to further colonization (Don Cameron, pers. comm.) and in sandy river terraces in southcentral Alaska (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Also in Alaska it is well established in open to dense mixed forests often near habitations (perhaps because it can remain in areas disturbed over 15 years ago) and is also abundant in disturbed areas, particularly in burned areas (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Low

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: The current range in the U.S. - outside of its native range - stretches from northern Minnesota through Wisconsin, Michigan, and New England south to New York (Czarapata 2005, Kartesz 1999). There is also report of it in Illinois (Kartesz 2005 draft). It is also considered to be exotic in Alaska where it is well-established from Fairbanks to southern Alaska (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: There are very few reports in the literature of this species establishing in areas other than roadsides and disturbed areas. However, there are reports from Alaska that it does persist in areas disturbed at least 15 years ago and has been seen on sandy river terraces (Alaska Heritage Program 2006). It also has been observed along a rivershore in the northeastern U.S. (Don Cameron, pers. comm.).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: Has invaded approximately 5-10 of the TNC ecoregions.

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Lupinus polyphyllus has been described invading roadsides, grasslands, and savannas by Czarapata (2005); roadsides and some fallow or unmanaged fields and a rivershore by Cameron in Maine (pers. comm. 2006); dry roadsides, banks, and fields by Haines and Vining (1998); and roadsides, open to dense mixed forests, burns, and other disturbed areas by the Alaska Natural Heritage Program (2006).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Medium/Low significance
Comments: The species appears to have no problem moving around on its own (Don Cameron, pers. comm. 2006) but has not been identified as spreading rapidly. It does appear to be spreading and very persistent in disturbed areas in Alaska (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006)

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:High/Low significance
Comments: There is no indication in the literature of biological limitiations which could restrict the range of Lupinus polyphyllus and it occurs in most hardiness zones of the U.S. However, it does require sunny sites with consistent moisture, though it will tolerate partial shade (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: This species is commonly sold commercially and planted in gardens and seeded along roadsides.

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Moderate significance
Comments: Lupinus polyphyllus is spreading along roads in Alaska (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006) and is locally well-established and spreading rather rapidly in the Lake Superior region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario (Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission 2005).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: There have only been a few observations so far of Lupinus polyphyllus colonizing undisturbed areas. In southern Alaska it is described as well-established in open to dense mixed forests often near habitations (Alaska Heritage Program 2006) but it is not clear whether these populations colonized after disturbance and then persisted or if they are very close to areas where the species is seeded along roadsides.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Lupinus polyphyllus invades braided riverbeds in New Zealand where it impacts ecological function (changing waterflow so that steep banks form, reducing habitat for the native fauna and flora) as well as directly shading out native species (New Zealand Department of Conservation 2003). Naturalized in Europe (USDA, GRIN 2006) and listed there as an invasive alien species (EPPO 2006). It is widespread in alpine areas of Australia (Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Heritage 2004).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Lupinus polyphyllus reproduces from seed and forms extensive clones from creeping rhizomes. It also sprouts after removal of aboveground growth (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006). Seeds have a hard seed coat and long dormancy periods (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Low/Insignificant

17. General Management Difficulty:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Plants can be eradicated when populations are small by digging up rhizomes, but repeated weedings may be necessary (Alaska Natural Heritage Program 2006).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance/Insignificant

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Medium/Low significance
Comments: The main source of colonizing plants seems to be from roadsides which are highly accessible, however, since the plant is sold commercially it may be difficult to control recolonization from private land.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Alaska Natural Heritage Program. 2006, 30 March last update. Non-native plant species of Alaska: Bigleaf lupine Lupinus polyphyllus ssp. polyphyllus Lindl. Available: (Accessed 2006).

  • Australian Government, Department of Environment and Heritage. 2004, January 22, 2004 - last update. Potentially environmental weeds in Australia - appendix C - potential environmental weed species that have histories as weeds overseas but are too widespread to be eradicated from Australia. Available: (Accessed 2004).

  • Czarapata, E. J. 2005. Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, WI. 215 pp.

  • Douglas, G.W., G.B. Straley, and D. Meidinger. 1989. The vascular plants of British Columbia. Part 1. Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons (Asteraceae through Cucurbitaceae). Crown Publications Incorporated. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 208 pp.

  • European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. No date. EPPO List of invasive alien plants (as presented to the working party in 2005-2006). Website: Accessed May 4, 2006

  • Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC). 2005. Exotic plant information center: Species accounts. Online. Available: (Accessed 2006).

  • Hickman, J. C., ed. 1993. The Jepson manual: Higher plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 1400 pp.

  • Hitchcock, C.L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson. 1961b. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae, by C.L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist. Univ. Washington Press, Seattle. 614 pp.

  • Kartesz, J. T. 2005. Synthesis of the North American Flora. 2nd Edition. CD-ROM computer application (review draft Jan. 2006). [in preparation]

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1988. A flora of Nevada. Ph.D. dissertation. Univ. of Nevada, Reno. 3 volumes. 1729 pp.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Moss, E.H. 1994. Flora of Alberta. Second Edition revised by J.G. Packer. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.

  • New Zealand Department of Conservation. 2003. Russell lupin - problem weed Fact Sheet. New Zealand Department of Conservation website: Accessed May 4, 2006.

  • Scoggan, H.J. 1978-1979. The flora of Canada: Parts 1-4. National Museums Canada, Ottawa. 1711 pp.

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. No date. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. URL: http://www.ars-grin.gov2/cgi-bin/npgs/html/ (Accessed 2006).

  • Voss, E.G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicotyledons. Cranbrook Institute of Science and University of Michigan Herbarium. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1212 pp.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.