Fabaceae Lupinus pusillus

Lupinus pusillus

Lupinus pusillus var. pusillus

Family: Fabaceae (A Utah Flora – Leguminosae) - Pea Family

Annual herbs from a taproot; 1.2” to 10” (3 to 24 cm) tall;

Leaves: mainly alternate; compound; has hairs; 3 to 14 leaflets are 0.44” to 1.92” (11 to 48mm) long, 0.08” to 0.4” (2 to 10 mm) wide

Flowers: 5 petals (a banner, 2 wings and 2 keels); 5 sepals; 10 stamens; 1 pistil; perfect; bisexual; purple or blue purple, less commonly pink or whitish; banner petal (upper) with a central yellow spot; flower stalks with 4 to 38 flowers; flowers 0.34” to 0.48” (8.5 to 12 mm) long

Pollinators: other Lupinus species are pollinated by bees

Fruits: legume

Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June

Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities; commonly in sand

Location seen: Park Avenue trail, park road mile 6

Other: The genus name, “Lupinus”, is from the Latin “lupus” meaning “wolf” in reference to the plant "wolfing" or taking nourishment from the soil and the species name, “pusillus”, means “dwarf”.

This family is ranked second to grasses in importance to people because species can fix nitrogen. However, some species, e.g., locoweeds and milkvetches, are poisonous due to selenium abstracted from the soil.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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