Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Lupinus arizonicus, Arizona Lupine

Lupinus arizonicus, Arizona Lupine, Southwest Desert Flora Lupinus arizonicus, Arizona Lupine, Southwest Desert Flora Lupinus arizonicus, Arizona Lupine, Southwest Desert Flora Lupinus arizonicus, Arizona Lupine, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Lupinus arizonicus
Common Name: Arizona Lupine

Also Called: (ES: Trèbola, Altramuz, Lupino)

Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family

Synonyms: (Linnaeus sparsiflorus var. barbatus, Lupinus concinnus var. brevior)

Status: Native

Duration: Annual

Size: Up to 20 inches (10-50 cm) tall.

Growth Form: Arizona Lupine is a forb/herb with erect stems or spreading; the stems are generally without hairs (glabrous).

Leaves: Arizona Lupine has green palmately compound leaves; the upper leaf surface is is without hairs or other ornamentation (glabrous).

Flower Color: Arizona Lupine has pea-shaped flowers that are showy pink or magenta, drying violet, blue-purple or whitish; the are 20 to 50 flowers in a tall hairy spike; the fruit is a pod.

Flowering Season: January to May, March to May in California.

Elevation: Below 3,500 feet (1,067 m).

Habitat Preferences: Found in both the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in in rocky hillsides, sandy soils, along washes and open Creosote bush communities.

Recorded Range: Native to AZ, CA and NV; also native to Baja California and northwestern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Lupinus arizonicus.

North America species range map for Arizona Lupine Lupinus arizonicus:

North America species range map for Arizona Lupine Lupinus arizonicus:
Click image for full size map.

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
Wetland Indicator: Unknown
Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

Genus Information: In North America, USDA Plants Database lists 356 species for Lupinus which includes sub-species and varieties. Worldwide, World Flora Online includes 630 accepted species names for the genus. The Plant List lists 626 species of Lupinus and an additional 446 of infraspecific rank for the genus Lupinus.

The genus Lupinus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).

Members of the genus Lupine are native to North and South America and also to North Africa and the Mediterranean.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 26 species of Lupinus, California has 94 species, Nevada has 40 species, New Mexico has 19 species, Texas has 8 species, Utah has 25 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.

There are 3 sub-species in Lupinus arizonicus;
  • Lupinus arizonicus subsp. arizonicus, Arizona Lupine, (AZ, CA, NV);
  • Lupinus arizonicus subsp. setosissimus, Arizona Lupine,(AZ, CA);
  • Lupinus arizonicus subsp. sonorensis, Sonora Lupine, (AZ only);

  • There are 2 varieties in Lupinus arizonicus;
  • Lupinus arizonicus var. arizonicus
  • Lupinus arizonicus var. brevior

  • Comments: Arizona Lupine is one of several Lupines and is not limited in distribution to Arizona. It is also found in California and parts of Nevada. In southern California, this Lupine is San Diego County's most common Lupine and it is also common around Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park in California.

    Arizona Lupine is similar in size and appearance to another common Lupine, Coulter's Lupine Lupinus sparsiflorus; however the leaflets on Arizona Lupine are not nearly as narrow and Coulter's Lupine generally does not have white flowers.

    Also see in Southwest Desert Flora; Bajada Lupine, Lupinus concinnus; Hill's Lupine, Lupinus hillii and Coulter's Lupine, Lupinus sparsiflorus.

    Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
    Arizona Lupine, Lupinus arizonicus has attractive flowers, the flowers and their seeds may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.

    Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
    Lupinus arizonicus has attractive flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, Native Bees and other insects in search of food and nectar.

    The genus “Lupinus” (Lupi'nus:) is from the Latin words lupus or lupinus for "wolf," a reference to the earlier thoughts that the plants were robbing soil or nutrients; Lupinus species actually replenishes the soil.

    The genus Lupinus was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).

    The species epithet arizonicus means from or of Arizona.

    The taxon Lupinus arizonicus was described in 1877 by Sereno Watson, (1826-1892).

    Ethnobotany - Native American Ethnobotany; University of Michigan - Dearborn

    Date Profile Completed: 08/25/2015; updated 02/05/2022
    References and additional information:
    Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, Arizona Flora, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.; Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search; accessed on-line; 02/04/2022.
    World Flora Online; A Project of the World Flora Online Consortium; An Online Flora of All Known Plants - (accessed on-line; 02/05Unknown The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed on-line; 02/05/2022).
    Wikipedia contributors. "Lupinus." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Dec. 2021. Web. 6 Feb. 2022.
    Jepson 1993, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor: S.Buckley, 2010; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; accessed 02/05/2022.
    Teresa Sholars (perennials, annuals in part) & Rhonda Riggins (annuals in part) 2020, Lupinus arizonicus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 8,, accessed on February 04, 2022.
    Calflora Taxon Report, 5116; Calflora, Information on Wild California Plants; accessed on-line 02/06/2022.
    Michael J. Plagens; Arizonensis; Field Guide; Sonoran Desert Flora; Fabaceae, Arizona Lupine, Lupinus arizonicus; accessed on-line 02/05/2022.
    T. Beth Kinsey, Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and Plants; Lupinus arizonicus – Arizona Lupine - accessed 02/06/2022.
    Seiler, John, Peterson, John, North American species range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology: Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed on-line; 01/14/2022)
    IPNI (2020). International Plant Names Index. Published on the Internet, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries and Australian National Botanic Gardens. [Retrieved on-line; 04 February 2022].