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Lupinus pusillus
Lupinus pusillus  (Dwarf Lupine, Rusty Lupine)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Sandy areas.  Spring.
South of Hogback, New Mexico, April 24, 2007.

Most of our Lupines are hardy perennials; this one is a tiny annual that occurs only on sand dunes and loose sands and gravels to about 6,500 feet altitude.  It grows three to nine inches tall, is cloaked in hairs, and has stunningly deep purple flowers. In a landscape of sand and yellow and white flowers, Lupinus pusillus really stands out.  Lupinus pusillus is found from Kansas west to California and from southern Canada south to Texas.  

Lupinus pusillus was first collected "on the banks of the Missouri" by Meriwether Lewis in 1804 or 1806 and was named and described by Frederick Pursh in 1814 in his Flora Americana. "Pusillus" is Latin for "very small".

Lupinus pusillus
Lupinus pusillus  (Dwarf Lupine, Rusty Lupine)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Sandy areas.  Spring.
Behind the Rocks, Moab, Utah, April 15, 2008.

A very young plant casts shadows of fresh elongated leaves and rounded cotyledons.  Notice the fine hairs on all upper leaves.

Lupinus pusillus
Lupinus pusillus  (Dwarf Lupine, Rusty Lupine)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Sandy areas.  Spring.
South of Hogback, New Mexico, April 24, 2007.

Lupinus pusillus
Lupinus pusillus  (Dwarf Lupine, Rusty Lupine)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Semi-desert.  Sandy areas.  Spring.
De-Na-Zin/Bisti Wilderness, New Mexico, May 21, 2009.

Seed pods are hairy and slightly constricted between the two or three seeds.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Lupinus pusillus