[The Lupines of the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine

Lupinus leucophyllus

Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus);

The photo above shows velvet lupine as seen on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge.......June 8, 2008. Velvet lupine has a long, very tightly flowered raceme with flowers from 8-12 mm long.

Flower of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) The photo at right of shows a close-up of the flower of velvet lupine as seen on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge........June 8, 2008. Note that the upper banner is bent closely towards the lateral wings and is much shorter than the wings and keel.

Characteristics:

Velvet lupine is an attractive perennial wildflower recognized by its silvery foliage and elongated, tightly flowered racemes. Plants typically have one to several simple to freely branched stems which arise 30-70 cm high. The leaves and stems are typically densely covered with a mixture of both short and long, straight hairs that may be both spreading and appressed or occasionally both appressed. The hairs typically are grayish or rust-colored. The leaves are generally found on the stems, with the petioles 1-4 times longer than the blades. The 7-10 leaflets are 3-5 cm long with oblanceolate to narrowly oblong blades. Both surfaces of the leaflets are about equally covered with silvery-gray hairs.

The racemes are long and narrow and are generally closely flowered. The pedicels measure 1-3 mm long and are subtended by white-haired bracts about equally long. The calyx likewise is densely haired with the upper lip cleft. The upper base of the calyx is not spurred but may be somewhat swollen. The corolla is light blue, pink or white in color and measures 12-14 mm long. The banner is shorter than the wings and is only slightly reflexed. The back of the banner is densely haired over much of its surface with the hairs extending past the calyx lobes to the upper third or sometimes to the tip of the banner. The wings are glabrous or perhaps lightly haired along the margins near the basal claw. The fruits measure 1.5 - 3 cm long and 7-8 mm wide and are covered with shaggy, rusty hairs.


Varieties of velvet lupine:

subspecies leucophyllus (formerly variety leucophyllus ) - Flowers larger, measuring 8-10 mm long. The pressed racemes are generally much wider than 2 cm. The leaflets are typically greater than 7 mm wide with loose, spreading, long hairs. Found east of the Cascade Mts. from central and eastern Washington and Oregon eastward to Montana, northwestern Wyoming, Idaho and western Nevada.

subspecies erectus (formerly variety tenuispicus) - Flowers smaller, measuring 7-8 mm long. Pressed racemes narrower, generally less than 2 cm wide. The leaflets measure less than 7 mm wide with short, appressed hairs. Found from Lincoln County in Washington south to central and southeastern Oregon and eastward to west-central and southwestern Idaho.


Habitat:

Velvet lupine may be found on dry, open rangeland or grasslands from the lowlands and foothills to moderate elevations in the mountains.


Range:

Velvet lupine may be found east of the Cascade Mts. from central and eastern Washington and Oregon eastward to Montana, northwestern Wyoming, Idaho and western Nevada.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100'-3000' from about the Klickitat River and Rowena in the west and eastward towards Roosevelt, WA and Arlington, OR.


Keel of the flower of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) -- Flower of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

The photo at left of shows a close-up of the keel of the flower of velvet lupine as seen on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge...........June 8, 2008. The keel of velvet lupine is turned upwards and longer and more narrow than that of the similar silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus) which generally also has larger flowers. The photo at right shows a close-up sideview of the flower of velvet lupine. Note that the banner is short and held closely above the lower portion of the longer keel and wings. Photographed along the old highway at Rowena, OR in the central Columbia River Gorge.........June 3, 2009.

Flowers of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

The photo above shows the closely spaced flowers within the raceme of velvet lupine as seen on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge........June 8, 2008.

Leaf of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Leaf of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

The two photos above show close-up views of the grayish, velvet-like leaves of velvet lupine as seen on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge.........June 8, 2008. Click each photo to see an enlarged view.

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

The two photos above show the upper stem leaves and elongated racemes of a light-pink variety of velvetlupin as seen on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge...........June 8, 2008. Much darker pink- or velvet-flowered forms of velvet lupine can be found about 35 miles north around Glenwood, WA. Click each photo to see an enlarged version.

Flower of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Dorsal surface of leaflet of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Ventral surface of leaflet of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

These photos show a white-flowered form of velvet lupine as well as close-up of the mass of whitish hairs of the dorsal leaflet (middle) and ventral leaflet (right) surfaces. The leavlets appear much grayer than any other species of lupine (except the hybrid lupine (L. leucophyllus X sericeus) that is found in the Columbia River Gorge. Photographed on grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge........June 8, 2008. Click each photo to see an enlarged version.

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

Velvet lupine as seen along the old highway at Rowena, OR in the central Columbia River Gorge.........June 3, 2009.

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

The photo above shows a mass of white- and pink-flowered versions of velvet lupine coloring the grassy slopes above the farm buildings in Columbia Hills State Park in the Columbia River Gorge.........June 8, 2008.

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Raceme of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Raceme of Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

Late-blooming velvet lupine as seen on slopes above the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park..........October 12, 2013. Many of the plants that bloom in September and October to the east of this location show an influence from Lupinus sericeus although these seem to lack that influence.

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

Late-blooming velvet lupine as seen on slopes above the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park..........October 16, 2017.

Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus) - Velvet Lupine, Woolly-leaved Lupine: Lupinus leucophyllus (Synonyms: Lupinus leucophyllus var. belliae, Lupinus leucophyllus var. canescens, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. erectus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus ssp. leucophyllus, Lupinus leucophyllus var. tenuispicus)

Late-blooming velvet lupine as seen on slopes above the Crawford Oaks Trailhead, Columbia Hills State Park..........November 18, 2017.

Paul Slichter