Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Native Plants of California ~ #5 In A Series

It's been impossible to cultivate lupines in my garden, but this California native annual will grow like a weed in even rocky areas on hillsides, under the right conditions. Lupine is currently blooming profusely along the Del Dios Highway, in a recent burn area. Perhaps the lack of undergrowth has allowed them to thrive, as there was no substantial rain this past season. Or maybe the ash has conditioned the soil for them.

Native lupines are important plants for butterflies and they have the remarkable ability to turn nitrogen from the atmosphere into amonia and fertilize the soil for other plants. They have eye-catching bright blue blossoms and are breathtaking in large clusters when they spread out across meadows or along hillsides. They grow naturally in both mountain meadows and along the lower coastal ranges.

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