A little bit about lupines


It’s lupine season on the North Shore. The fields of blue flowers along Highway 61 rival the golds and yellows of fall for the best colors along the scenic drive. 

Many people I ask tell me that the lupines are their favorite North Shore flowers…even though the flowers aren’t native. I guess that makes the lupine like a lot of us: outsiders who have tried to fit in and make the North Shore a little better for everyone.

As you enjoy these towers of flowers, here’s a few fun facts to add to your enjoyment:

  • “Lupine”, as any decent fan of Harry Potter knows, is related to the Latin word for wolf (get it, Professor Lupin…the kind-hearted werewolf?). It was once thought that lupines “wolfed” the nutrients out of the soil, hence the name.
  • The North Shore lupine are known scientifically as Lupinus polyphyllus. They are  native to the western US coastal mountains 
  • The best stands on Highway 61 are between Two Harbors and Gooseberry. They are often found along the roadside near older homesteads. There are also amazing fields of them between the Pigeon River and Thunder Bay.
  • Showing just how perfect they are for the North Shore, lupine do poorly in rich soil. Good thing we’re mostly gravel, bedrock and clay up here!

Enjoy the display of colors…it’s North Shore summer at its finest.


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4 Responses

  1. Ang says:

    Hi – just found your blog by googling Lupine on the North Shore, love the little facts. i’m currently nursing 6 plants (all planted this year) in my yard in Anoka, MN. Hoping they make it and come back next year.

    One question for you: you say there are fields of Lupine between Pigeon River and Thunder Bay – are they right off the highway or do I need to go off the beaten path to find these fields?

    • Andrew Slade says:

      Hi Ang,
      Almost all fields of lupine are visible right off of Highway 61, plus they are inland as well. Generally you’ll see them in open, sunny areas which is why you see them so prolifically along the highway.

  2. Jerome Hoffman says:

    What dates are we most likely to be able to enjoy the blooming of the Lupine on the North Shore?

What do you think?


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