Ripples 5/24/24

By Max Kornetzke, land manager

Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis) is a Wisconsin native wildflower with beautiful palmate foliage and spikes of blue flowers.  It flowers in May and June and attracts various bumbles and butterflies. It’s also the only host plant for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly. Habitat loss is a major factor affecting lupine populations, therefore leading to Karner Blue being an endangered species.

Wild Lupine loves sandy, dry soils, so last fall, we decided to try seeding some into our dry, sandy V-shaped meadow off of the Ice Age Trail. Thankfully, we had regular rain this spring, and to our delight, the seeds successfully germinated. The seedlings are tiny but are already showing their iconic fuzzy leaf shape. 

It might take a few years until these plants are established enough to flower, but I know with some help this meadow will be a great home for colonies of this charming plant. We hope that with a healthy established population of Wild Lupine, that our preserve could become an oasis for the rare Karner Blue butterfly.

If you have a sandy, droughty spot in your yard and are looking for a beautiful wildflower that also provides great ecosystem services, consider planting some Wild Lupine. You can find seeds and plugs at most native plant nurseries in Wisconsin and across the Midwest.

Photo credit: iNaturalist



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