Lupinus kingii grows in sandy moist soil near rivers and lakes in areas surrounded by Ponderosa Pine. The growth pattern is more a flat mat than most other lupines. The stems are spreading rather than erect. The purple and white flowers are in short but dense clusters. The palmately compound leaves are hairy on both surfaces. The pods are hairy and only about 10mm long.
Springer et al. 2008, Allred and Ivey 2012, Heil et al. 2013, McDougall 1973
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual herb, 5-20 cm tall, from a taproot; stems erect to ascending, few-branched above the middle or diffusely branched at or near the base; herbage softly pilose to silky-villous, the hairs fine, silvery, spreading. Leaves: Mostly alternate along the stems, plus a few in a basal cluster; leaves palmately compound, on petioles 1-3 cm long, with 4-7 leaflets per leaf; leaflets 1-2 cm long, narrowly oblanceolate. Flowers: Blue-purple, in 5-12 flowered racemes which are 1-2 cm long in flower and expanding to up to 4 cm long in fruit; flowers 8-9 mm long, with pea-flower morphology (papilionaceous); calyx 2-lipped, strigose, slightly gibbous (swollen) at the base of the upper lip; corolla light to dark blue or purple, rarely white, the banner (wide upper petal) with a yellow or white patch in the middle. Fruits: Pods ovate and laterally compressesd, about 1 cm long, sparsely to densely pilose; splitting open to release 2 seeds. Ecology: Found in dry, open habitats in ponderosa pine forests and oak-pine and pinyon-juniper woodlands, from 5,000-8,000 ft (1524-2438 m); flowers June-October. Distribution: NV, UT, AZ, CO, NM Notes: Look for a low, copiously hairy annual, with palmately compound leaves and purple pea-flowers in dense clusters. It is distinguished from L. brevicaulis by having well-developed, if short, stems. Pay attention to where the leaves are attached; if all leaves are attached directly to the base of the plant, you're probably looking at L. brevicaulis. If the leaf petioles are attached to stem nodes, then you probably have L. kingii (most stems should have at least 2 nodes above the base of the plant). Also look at the calyx. All Lupinus spp have 2-lipped calyces; in this species, the upper and lower lips of the calyx are about the same length, while in L. brevicaulis the upper lip is half the length of the lower lip. Some older texts recognize two varieties of L. kingii; var. argillaceous, found in the eastern part of the species' range, differs from the typical variety by having appressed, less conspicuous pubescence. Ethnobotany: The Navajo use a poultice of the crushed leaves to treat poison ivy blisters. The Hopi use the plant as an eye medicine. Etymology: Lupinus comes from Latin for wolf or wolfish, alluding to the belief (now known to be untrue) that lupines rob the soil of nutrients; kingii honors British botanist Sir George King (1840-1909), the first director of the Botanical Survey of India, beginning in 1890. Synonyms: Lupinus capitatus, Lupinus sileri Editor: AHazelton 2017