Lupinus polyphyllus

Common Name(s)

Russell lupin



Flora Category

Vascular - Exotic

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites


Terrestrial. Establishes in waste places and lowland areas, streams, riverbeds and disturbed montane to subalpine areas.


Herbaceous perennial; stems sparsely to moderately hairy, erect, branched from base. Leaflets8~15, usu. glabrous above, sparsely to moderately sericeous below, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, acute to acuminate, 30~130 x 10~30mm; stipules oblong-lanceolate, 15~35mm long. Infl. 15~60cm long, many-flowered; peduncle up to 15cm long. Lower flowers alternate; upper flowers subverticillate; pedicels 5~14mm long. Calyx densely hairy; upper lip shallowly 2-toothed; lower lip slightly longer, entire. Corolla blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow or white, often of 2 colours, slightly scented if at all, 12~20mm long. Pod densely villous, 5~10-seeded, 30~50mm long; seeds ellipsoid, smooth, dark brown and somewhat mottled, approx. 2mm long. (- Webb et. al., 1988)

Similar Taxa

An herbaceous perennial, with sparse hairy stems that are erect and branched from the base (Webb et. al. 1988). The leaflets number from 8-15, have no hairs on above and are sparsely to moderately hairy underneath and are 30-130 10-30 mm (Webb et. al. 1988). The inflorescence is 15-60 cm long with flowers that can be blue, purple, orange, yellow, pink or white coloured and often have two colours (Webb et. al. 1988). The flowers are not or slightly scented from 12-20mm long. The 30-50cm long pods are densely hairy and contain 5-10 seeds (Webb et. al. 1988). The seeds are smooth, dark brown and somewhat mottled and are approximately 2mm long (Webb et. al. 1988).


September, October, November, December, January, February

Flower Colours

Purple,Red / Pink

Year Naturalised



N. America

Reason For Introduction

Life Cycle Comments
Perennial. Non vegetatively spreading perennial with some plants reaching 50 years (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995). Germination of seed occurs in autumn and spring (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Reproduces from seed.

Seed is produced at 200-1 000 kg/ha. Seeds remain viable for 10 or more years (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Explosive mechanism, humans, tourists, waterways (particularly in floods) (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Highly tolerant of frost and poor drainage; slightly tolerant of shade and intolerant of drought. Can resprout from the base after physical damage and grazing (Timmins & MacKenzie 1995).

Poisonous plant:
The seed are poisonous if they are chewed or crushed before eating.

This page last updated on 1 Oct 2012