Lupinus chamissonis Eschs.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

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'Lupinus chamissonis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-10-23.


Other species in genus


(pl. calyces) Outer whorl of the perianth. Composed of several sepals.
The inner whorl of the perianth. Composed of free or united petals often showy.
Unbranched inflorescence with flowers produced laterally usually with a pedicel. racemose In form of raceme.
Lying flat against an object.
Reduced leaf often subtending flower or inflorescence.
Fringed with long hairs.
Hand-like; palmate.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Lance-shaped; broadest in middle tapering to point.
standard petal
(in the flowers of some legumes) Large upper petal; also known as ‘vexillum’.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

Recommended citation
'Lupinus chamissonis' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online ( Accessed 2020-10-23.

A sub-shrubby plant from 112 to 3 ft high, woody at the base; young shoots silky-hairy. Leaves digitate, made up of five to seven leaflets, which are lanceolate, abruptly pointed, tapered at the base, 12 to 114 in. long, 18 to 14 in. wide, silvery with appressed hairs on both surfaces; main-stalk 12 to 1 in. long. Raceme 3 to 6 in. long, erect, slender, the flowers more or less whorled, each on a silky stalk which is 14 in. long and bears a silky linear bract at the base of the flower. Corolla 58 in. long, the standard petal blue or lilac with a large yellow blotch at the base; wing petals and keel of the same blue or lilac shade, both paling towards the base. Calyx 14 in. long, two-lipped. Pods 1 to 114 in. long, 316 to 14 in. wide, silky. Bot. Mag., t. 8657.

Native of California, often on sandy hill-slopes near the shore between San Francisco and San Diego; also of a few places along the coast in Washington. Although originally described in 1826, about which period it was collected by David Douglas, it never appears to have been common in cultivation. Its combination of silvery leaves and blue or lavender-coloured flowers is very charming. As is the case with so many Californian shrubs cultivated in this country, its tenure no doubt is shortened by lack of sunshine. But I do not think the shrubby lupins are ever particularly long-lived in our gardens. L. chamissonis should be planted in well-drained soil at the foot of a sunny south wall. It has been confused in gardens with L. argenteus, another silver-leaved but more herbaceous species, a native of the inner ranges of western N. America. L. chamissonis is distinguished amongst the silvery lupins by the large yellow blotch on the standard petal. It flowers at Kew from June onwards till autumn and ripens seed there.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

† L. albifrons Lindl. – This is closely allied to L. chamissonis, differing in the absence of a conspicuous yellow blotch at the base of the standard and in the ciliate keel (glabrous or almost so in L. chamissonis). Native of California, mostly away from the coast, also extending into Oregon; introduced by Douglas. It is somewhat variable and several varieties have been distinguished. It needs the same conditions as its ally.


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