|Source: Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick|
The plant was once thought to deplete or wolf the mineral content of the soil; hence the genus name derived from the Latin lupus (wolf). Quite contrarily, the plant and the family Fabaceae enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen.
Blue lupine is the lone host plant for a little butterfly called the Karner Blue, an endangered species. The leaves of the wild lupine are its sole food. Habitat loss has led to the decline in plants, and put the Karner Blue on the endangered species list.When these larvae emerge in the spring they eat lupine leaves. The butterfly disappeared from Ohio when the lupines numbers start depleting.
All parts of the wild lupine flower are poisonous to humans, pets, horses and other livestock.
The best place to see wild blue lupine flowers is at Kitty Todd Preserve. The annual Blue Weekend at Kitty Todd is a celebration of blue lupine and the Karner Blue Butterfly.