Kincaid's Lupine

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Kincaid's Lupine

Lupinus sulphureus kincaidii

ListedJanuary 25, 2000
FamilyLeguminosae (Fabaceae)
DescriptionA perennial, herbaceous, flowering plant.
HabitatNative prairie.
ThreatsConversion of native prairie into land-uses for agriculture and residential areas, roadside maintenance using herbicides, grazing and other agricultural practices, and suppression of wildfires.
RangeOregon, Washington


The Kincaid's lupine is a herbaceous perennial that grows as tall as 12-39 in (30-100 cm). The leaves grow from the base of the plant, and are palmately compound with 7-12 deep-green leaflets. The petioles of the basal leaves are 3-5 times longer than the leaflets. The leaflets are glabrous on the upper surface, and have white hairs on the lower surface. The flowers are borne in a tight raceme that is typically 4-7 in (10-18 cm) long. The flowers are violet or purplish (and there may be a few white ones). The calyx surrounds the pea-like flower, which consists of petals forming an upper banner, two lateral wings, and the lower keel. The banner is somewhat reflexed from the wings and keel, and may be sparsely hairy on the back. There are 10 stamens, which are dimorphic and grouped as 9+1. The ripe fruit is a flattened legume (or pod), 0.9-1.2 in (2-3 cm) long, colored pinkish-brown, hairy, and dehiscent (it splits to release the seeds).


The Kincaid's lupine occurs in dry open woods, banks, meadows and roadsides. It most often occurs in native upland prairie sites characterized by relatively heavy (or clay-rich) soils with mesic to slightly xeric soil moisture. At the southern limit of its range it also occurs on well-developed soils adjacent to serpentine outcrops, where the rare lupine is often found under scattered oaks.


The Kincaid's lupine is a locally evolved (or endemic) subspecies that only occurs at local sites in Oregon and southern Washington. It occurs in 48 sites throughout the Willamette Valley, 4 sites in the Umpqua Valley of Oregon, and 2 sites in southern Washington.


Since European settlement, humans have extensively altered native prairie in the Willamette Valley and nearby areas of Oregon and Washington. This has mostly been caused by the development of agricultural land, but residential development has also been important, along with forestry practices, grazing, roadside maintenance, and the cultivation of Christmas trees. For example, about 99% of the original habitat of the coevolved Fender's blue butterfly has been lost. Within 88 remnants of native prairie in the Willamette Valley, the Kincaid's lupine occurs at 54 sites (it co-occurs with the butterfly at 26 sites). Moreover, prairie habitat at 80% of the surviving sites (68 sites) is rapidly disappearing due to continuing development activities. Another risk is the suppression of wildfire, which is important in arresting succession in critical habitats of the Kincaid's lupine, which would otherwise change into an excessively competitive habitat dominated by shrubs and trees.

Conservation and Recovery

Many sites supporting the Kincaid's lupine are privately owned, or are owned by State governments. The existence of sites along roads has been made known to state departments of transport, which are asked to not spray herbicides or undertake other incompatible management activities.

Some populations occur within National Wildlife Refuges of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and their habitat there is being conserved in a natural condition. The Kincaid's lupine also occurs on federal lands managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. In some of these cases, agreements have been negotiated to reduce the risks of management for the rare plant. As of 2000, however, the population of Kincaid's lupine occurring in the Umpqua National Forest was not covered under any conservation agreement. Moreover, a substantial number of populations of the Kincaid's lupine occur on privately owned lands, and these are at risk. The effective conservation of this rare plant requires the designation of more of its sites as protected areas, the monitoring of its populations, and research into the environmental factors that are threatening its survival, as well as ways of mitigating those threats.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N. E. 11th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97232-4181
(503) 231-6121

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon State Office
2600 S. E. 98th Ave, Suite 100
Portland, Oregon 97266-1398
Telephone: (503) 231-6179


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 25 January 2000. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Endangered Status for Erigeron decumbens var. decumbens (Willamette Daisy) and Fender's Blue Butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi) and Threatened Status for Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii (Kincaid's Lupine)." Federal Register 65 (16): 3875-3890.