Wildflower Love: Lupines

“Now my fine friends, no false moves please.  I want you to hand over all the lupins you’ve got.”

–Dennis Moore (Monty Python character, poacher of posies)

I could start off with hyperbole that waxes the rapture that I have when delved in the botanical world, but let’s face it, wordiness is NOT my thing. So flat out: I love plants. Period.

Many weekends will find me wandering the beaches, backroads and botanical gardens in search of new plants to give me the “flora fix.”  As tempting as it is to slip a cutting or seedpod into my purse, most of my wanderings result in photographs instead (though I won’t deny having given in to the former urge on occasion).

Moving to California a decade ago definitely introduced me to a new world of plants. According to my friends at the California Native Plant Society, there are about 6,300 native plants in this state.  While many of them are not so pretty and glamorous, there are some show-stoppers that show up pretty darn well through the lens.

Take the lupine. Sure I’d grown a couple of varieties in my Great Lakes garden, but they never grew THREE FEET tall!  I first encountered the wild Silver Bush Lupine (Lupinus albifrons) in all its glory on  Soberanes/Rocky Ridge trail at Garrapata State Park. If it weren’t for these beauties that brightened a very foggy afternoon, I would have given up on the hike long before we reached 1,800 ft.

At a saner altitude, I discovered the lower growing Summer Lupine (Lupinus formosus var. formosus) in open sunny areas.  And I was especially giddy to catch a shot of a sweet blue copper butterfly (I think, but corrections are welcome).

And on the back roads south of Carmel Valley, I found acres of Sky Lupines (Lupinus nanus) that crowded the edges of the roads, along fences, and across open grasses.

It almost makes me understand why Dennis Moore held up a stagecoach for this glorious flower.

For a closer look at Monty Python’s famous Lupine sketch:


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