Lupinus nootkatensis

Alaska Lupins in Iceland

The Alaska lupine ( Lupinus nootkatensis ) is perennial plant of the legume family ( Fabaceae ). It is native to northwestern North America. It has further been introduced in parts of northern Europe.


The Alaska lupine grows to reach the stature heights of 50 to 120 centimeters as a perennial, herbaceous plant. The stems are densely hairy. In winter only lasts their shoot base ( caudex ) from which it sends out new shoots in spring.

The basal leaves are short-stalked and have more elongated inverted - ovate to lanceolate leaves wrong -. These have a blunt or pointed tip and have on both leaf surfaces more or less densely packed white to brown hair. The upper leaf surface may also be hairless.

The racemose inflorescence consists of blue, rarely white single flowers. The broad sepals may be grooved, lobed or toothed.

Occurrence and location

The natural range of the Alaska lupine is in the northwest of North America. They can be found there from the Aleutian Islands to the north along the Arctic coast to Haida Gwaii and Vancouver in the south of Iceland. In the 18th century the Alaska lupine was introduced as an ornamental plant in Great Britain and in the 19th century Iceland and Scandinavia where they feral. Since the 1970s, there are also deposits in southwestern Greenland and the Faroe Islands.


The first description as Lupinus nootkatensis was made in 1810 by James Donn Botanical Magazine, Volume 32, page 1311. Lupinus nootkatensis Donn A synonym for ex Sims Lupinus perennis is subsp. nootkatensis ( Donn ex Sims ) L.Ll. Phillips.

The species is divided according Plant List in two varieties:

  • Lupinus nootkatensis fruticosus var Sims
  • Lupinus nootkatensis var nootkatensis is the nominate form.


  • Borg Thor Magnusson, Online Database of the North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species ( ed.): NOBANIS - Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet. Lupinus nootkatensis. 2006 ( online (PDF, 817 kB) ).