The international bee crisis is threatening our global food supply, but this user-friendly field guide shows what you can do to help protect our pollinators. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation offers browsable profiles of 100 common flowers, herbs, shrubs, and trees that support bees, butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds. The recommendations are simple: pick the right plants for pollinators, protect them from pesticides, and provide abundant blooms throughout the growing season by mixing perennials with herbs and annuals! 100 Plants to Feed the Bees (Storey Publishing) will empower homeowners, landscapers, apartment dwellers — anyone with a scrap of yard or a window box — to protect our pollinators.
The following excerpt on lupine comes from section 1. Native Flowers.
Lupine (Lupinus spp.)
Western deserts, salty coastal dunes, and cool mountain stream banks all host uniquely adapted lupine species, sometimes in close proximity to one another. Several dozen different species are found in the United States and Canada, with the overwhelming majority located in the West, especially California. Lupines include both small annuals and large shrubby perennials. Most produce high-quality pollen, although they’re not esteemed as nectar plants.
Recommended species or varieties
In the eastern United States and Canada, perennial lupine (Lupinus perennis) is the most widely distributed species, best in deep, sandy soils. This species is the host plant for the endangered Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), and the loss of lupine from the landscape has pushed the butterfly close to extinction. Silvery lupine (L. argenteus) is one of the most widely distributed species throughout the Great Basin, Rocky Mountains, and desert Southwest.
In California, yellow-flowered annual golden lupine (L. densiflorus) has performed well in Xerces Society pollinator meadows and cover crops at farms across the state, and the perennial summer lupine (L. formosus) has proven an excellent bumble bee plant. In rainy areas of the Pacific Northwest, riverbank lupine (L. rivularis) rapidly, almost aggressively, establishes itself in seeded pollinator meadows, successfully crowding out weeds. It mixes well with Puget Sound gumweed, and despite the common name, doesn’t require riverbanks as habitat.
- Wildflower meadow/prairie restoration
- Cover crop
- Pollinator nesting material or caterpillar host plant
Notable flower visitors
Attracts bumblebees, some mason bees, and occasionally pollen-gathering honey bees. Host plant for caterpillars of many butterflies, including clouded sulphurs (Colias philodice), orange sulphurs (Colias eurytheme), Persius duskywing (Erynnis persius), wild indigo duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae), frosted elfin (Callophyrys irus), gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus), sooty hairstreak (Satyrium fuliginosum), Acmon blue (Plebejus acmon), arrowhead blue (Glaucopsyche piasus), the Boisduval’s blue (Plebejus icarioides), eastern tailed-blue (Cupido comyntas), melissa blue (Lycaeides melissa), silvery blue (Glaucopsyche lygdamus), and the endangered Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis).
Sun to part shade
Average to dry
Spring to summer
Blue, purple, white, yellow
Excerpted from 100 Plants To Feed The Bees © by The Xerces Society. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.