Nootka lupine growing in Iceland.
Donn ex Sims
Lupinus nootkatensis, the Nootka lupine, is a perennial plant of the genus Lupinus in the legume family, Fabaceae. It is native to North America. The Nootka lupine grows to 60 cm tall. Late in the 18th century it was first introduced to Europe.
Iceland Nootka Lupin Flower
Iceland Nootka Lupin Flower Fields
The Nootka lupine is common on the west coast of North America, and is one of the species from which the garden hybrids are derived, being valued in Britain and other North-European countries for its tolerance of cool, wet summers. It grows along roadsides, gravel bars, and forest clearings from the Aleutian Islands, southcentral Alaska, and along the Panhandle to B.C. Rigorous self-seeders as they are, lupine can often be seen along roadsides and in open meadows, their bright blueish purple flowers catching ones eye from quite a distance. Their long tap roots make transplanting difficult, so sowing seed is preferable.
3 Reclamation use
The species was first described as Lupinus nootkatensis in 1810 by James Donn in Botanical Magazine, Vol. 32, Page 1311.
On the Plant List the species is divided in two varieties:
Lupinus nootkatensis var. fruticosus Sims
Lupinus nootkatensis var. nootkatensis is the subspecies.
A member of the Pea family (Fabaceae), lupines form seeds in fuzzy pods that may be attractive to children. The seeds of the lupine can be toxic, though toxins flush through the system quickly and are not cumulative. However, internal use is not advised.
In Iceland, the plant was introduced in the first half of the 20th century to combat erosion, speed up land reclamation and help with reforestation. The Nootka lupine has shown itself to be a very effective plant for land reclamation in Iceland. Dense plant cover and soil fertility can be gained within a relatively short time span, where the growth of the lupine is not limited by droughts. The lupine is well suited for reclamation of large, barren areas because of its nitr