Sunday, June 7, 2009

Today's Flowers: Wild Lupine

In many parks that I visit, as well as some open fields and roadsides, the wild lupine is currently in bloom. Wild lupine is a perennial plant that is a part of the pea family. It is a stalky plat with each stalk producing numerous flowers that can be pink, white or blue.
Lupine grows primarily in dry and sandy soil which is open to partially shaded. Unfortunately do to loss of habitat wild lupine has declined significantly, primarily over the last 15 to 20 years.

Another reason for the loss of lupine, besides habitat destruction, is advancement in fire prevention and suppression. Wild fires clear out much of the undergrowth allowing perennials such as wild lupine to move in and thrive. With out fire, or some other method of clearing out the brush, the barrens and savannas are soon over taken by forests and shrubs and the wild lupine is not able to get enough light to continue.
Because it is an early bloomer wild lupine is important to many insects who have just hatched or come out of their winter hibernation and are looking for sustenance. Bees will drink nectar from the flowers as well as take pollen back to the hive to produce honey. The darker orange portion of the bees hind leg is its pollen sack. This is where it stores pollen so that it can take it back to the hive. If you look closely at the bee you can see small bits of pollen on its legs and over parts. This pollen often falls or rubs off while it is taking pollen from another plant. This is how many of our plants around the world are pollinated. Butterflies and other insects also come to the wild lupine in search of food.

9 comments:

Gaelyn said...

They are beautiful. Love seeing large patches of them. Lupines are blooming here in many of the old burn areas.

SquirrelQueen said...

A very beautiful flower and thank you for providing the additional information. The photos of the bees are very good.
SQ

Regina said...

Awesome!

VALKYRIEN said...

Those are lovely! They grow wild in Norway also! Love the ones with the bumblebee!

Have a great week!
Valkyrien

Equidae said...

thanks for the info and nice photos as usual...wish you a good week

Amanda Guthrie said...

Beuatiful Lupine,. We still have it blooming here in Calif but not in any great proportion. Love the buzzer too great job!

2sweetnsaxy said...

Wonderful shots. Those bee captures are fantastic! :-)

SandyCarlson said...

Now I know what that is! Wonderful colors. Such a soft color, too.

dAwN said...

Beautiful flowers and bees....I am jealous..I will keep trying to get a decent bee photo..