Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.

Common Name: Marsh lupine

Synonyms and Other Names:

bigleaf lupine, marsh lupine, Washington lupine; Garden lupine; Altramuz perenne




EA Goering (commons.wikimedia.org)Copyright Info

Identification: General (Klinkenberg 2007): Perennial herb from a branched, somewhat rhizomatous stem-base; stems erect, up to 1.5 m tall, generally unbranched, cylindric-hollow at the base, usually nearly glabrous but sometimes soft- or stiff-hairy.

Leaves (Klinkenberg 2007): Basal (a few) and alternate along the stem, palmately compound, the stalks of the basal leaves often much longer than those of the stem leaves; leaflets 9 to 17, elliptic-oblanceolate, pointed at the tip, 3-12 cm long, glabrous above, sparsely stiff-hairy below.

Flowers (Klinkenberg 2007): Inflorescence a dense, stalked, terminal raceme, up to 40 cm long, of whorled or somewhat scattered, pea-like flowers; corollas bluish to violet, glabrous, 11-16 mm long, the banner nearly circular and slightly shorter than the wings; calyces about equally 2-lipped, both lips entire or minutely toothed.

Fruits (Klinkenberg 2007): Pods, curved, densely long-soft-hairy, 3-5 cm long; seeds 6 to 10, greyish with dark mottling. perennial legume with flower colour varying from purple to yellow and red. Preferred habitats include areas with low fertility, rocky, sandy or loose textured soils and medium to high rainfall. The plant's large seeds give it a distinct advantage for establishment in low fertility soils.


Size: to 1.5 m tall


Native Range: Western parts of North America with an oceanic climate: Canada (British Columbia), United States (Alaska, west Oregon, west Washington, north California) (Fremstad 2006).  


Map Key
This map only depicts Great Lakes introductions.

 
Nonindigenous Occurrences: introduced into the eastern parts of North America and naturalized in many countries in Europe. It is recorded in the following states in United States: AK, CA, CT, ID, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NV, NY, OR, VT, WA, WI.

1st Great Lakes record 1982 Lake Superior


Ecology: L. polyphyllus grows on shores, in meadows and roadsides and other disturbed habitats. Its habitats are also characterized as ‘shady, moderately dry, well-drained, sandy-loam soil (Fremstad 2006).


Means of Introduction: L. polyphyllus has been introduced intentionally, initially and primarily as an ornamental (garden) plant. Later, it has been introduced and bred also for other purposes but especially for soil improvement and stabilisation and as fodder for domestic animals and wildlife (Fremstad 2006).

L. polyphyllus grows in symbiosis with a nitrogen-fixing bacterium, Bradyrhizobium sp., which causes growth of root nodules. The bacterium acquires molecular nitrogen from the atmosphere. Soils where L. polyphyllus grows are enriched with nitrogen, which may be used by other plants as well. This ability to increase soil fertility is the main reason for the diverse and widespread use of the plant. It has also been planted as a “green manure” (intercrop) on cultivated fields and as a game fodder. It was used in fire-protection belts in forests. The species is also used for breeding hybrids with other lupins (Fremstad 2006).


Status: introduced-naturalized


Impact of Introduction: The effect on indigenous plants is most obvious where L. polyphyllus occurs in extensive, rather dense stands which suppress native species. It can outcompete native species occurring in road verges, ruderal areas, gravelly floodplains and other open habitats. Eutrophication of nutrient-poor sites and consequent changes in community structure and diversity is the main problem when L. polyphyllus invades an area (Fremstad 2006).  

L. polyphyllus is an important agricultural plant with a wide variety of cultivars differing in chemical characters, growth potential, use etc. Hay from fields with an intermixture of L. polyphyllus may be less valuable due to the alkaloid content of the plant, and the fields may become more difficult to harvest (Fremstad 2006).


Great Lakes Impacts: Current research on the environmental impact of Lupinus polyphyllus in the Great Lakes is inadequate to support proper assessment.
Twenty-nine quinolizidine alkaloids have been found and characterized from the combined leaf/hypocotyl extracts of Lupinus polyphyllus (Veen et al 1992).  Lupin alkaloids inhibit germination of many seeds and L. polyphyllus may outcompete native plants via this mechanism (Wink 1983, Muzquiz et al 1994), especially  in open habitats.  Due to the nitrogen-fixing nodules L. polyphyllus changes the soil chemistry in favour of nitrogen-demanding species. Thus, L. polyphyllus causes a change in nutrient content of soil and, eventually, in plant communities. Eutrophication of nutrient-poor sites and consequent changes in community structure and diversity is a major problem when L. polyphyllus invades an area.

Alkaloids present in the plant are mildy toxic and cause a bitter taste.  Most herbivores quickly learn to avoid them.

Lupinus polyphyllus is known to hybridize with other lupines.  It is unknown whether it is hybridizing with the sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis) native to the Great Lakes region. 

There is little or no evidence to support that Lupinus polyphyllus has significant socio-economic impacts in the Great Lakes.
Lupine contamination of hay raises alkaloid content and may negatively impact the usefulness of hay as fodder and hence its value.

Lupinus polyphyllus has a moderate beneficial impact in the Great Lakes.
Several cultivars are considered valuable garden plants.  It has also been widely used as a ‘green fertilizer’ due to its ability to support nitrogen fixation.  Low alkaloid cultivars have been developed for use as forage crops.  Lupinus polyphyllus extracts (from low alkaloid cultivars) are sold as ‘herbal medicines’ .  Lupine seeds (also from low alkaloid cultivars) are cultivated for the edible seeds.


Management: Regulations (pertaining to the Great Lakes region)
There are no known regulations for this species.

Note: Check federal, state/provincial, and local regulations for the most up-to-date information.
 

Control
Lupines usually require ecological disturbance to persist.  Control is generally unnecessary in undisturbed sites.

Biological
There are no known biological control methods for this species.  Lupines may be toxic and populations often increase in grazed (pasture) systems.  Several native insects feed on lupines, but are considered insufficient for control (DiThomaso 2013).

Physical
Hand pulling, tillage, and digging are effective for controlling established plants, but the disturbance from these methods can promote new recruitment. The root system should be severed below the thickened crown.  Mowing is not effective unless done frequently enough to prevent seed production.  Fire is not an effect control as this promotes germination (DiThomaso 2013). 

Chemical
Several alternatives are available for chemical control – most are most effective when applied post-emergence and before flowering.  2,4-D and/or dicambia can be applied at temperatures less than 80oF.  Glyphospate is effective for spot treatment where reseeding (with natives) is planned as it will not injure seedlings.   Chlorsulfuron and metsulfuron are also effective (DiThomaso 2013).

Note: Check state/provincial and local regulations for the most up-to-date information regarding permits for control methods. Follow all label instructions.


Remarks: L. polyphyllus may be confused with the Russel Lupin Lupinus x regalis (L. arboreus x L. polyphyllus) which usually has slightly branched stems, one or several rather dense racemes with flowers in blue, purple, pink, white, yellowish and shades of orange. This taxon is a garden hybrid (or hybrid complex).


References: (click for full references)

DiTomaso, J.M., G.B. Kyser et al. 2013.  Weed Control in Natural Areas in the Western United States.
Weed Research and Information Center, University of California. 544 pp

Fremstad, E. 2006. NOBANIS – Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet – Lupinus polyphyllus. – From: Online Database of the North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species – NOBANIS www.nobanis.org, Date of access 08/18/2008.

Global Invasive Species Database.  2008.  http://www.issg.org/database

Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2007. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [www.eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 8/19/2008 10:11:16 AM]

Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A. and Dines, T.D. (eds) 2002. New atlas of the British and Irish flora. – Oxford University Press, Oxford. 910 pp.


Author: Cao, L., and R. Sturtevant


Contributing Agencies:
NOAA GLRI Logo


Revision Date: 7/1/2014


Citation for this information:
Cao, L., and R. Sturtevant, 2017, Lupinus polyphyllus Lindl.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/greatlakes/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2715&Potential=N&Type=0&HUCNumber=DGreatLakes, Revision Date: 7/1/2014, Access Date: 10/23/2017


This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.