Lupine Meaning and a Native American Legend

Lupine Flower Meaning

Lupine meaning is imagination. This relates well to the fact that lupines can bring lush growth to areas that are parched or damaged. Lupines are also known as bluebonnets.

Lupine Meaning in Legend

A legend in the Native American tradition tells of a time when a tribe was dying of starvation after a long drought. They knew that generosity and selflessness were needed. However, no one had come forward with an appropriate deed. Finally an orphan girl climbs a hill and lays down her last possession, a beloved doll. The rain begins to fall. Lupines cover the hillside. Her gift has saved the tribe.


Lupine Meaning and Name Origin

The name “lupinus” actually means “of wolves.” This is due to the mistaken belief that ancient peoples had that lupines robbed the soil of nutrients. The fact is that lupines add nitrogen to the soil.

In the United States, lupines grow well in the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, New England and other northern states. They are both cultivated flowers and wildflowers. Lupines also grow abundantly throughout Europe as far north as Norway.  

Lupine Meaning in Roman Times

Lupines literally meant food and abundance for the Romans. They used lupines for fertilizer and ate the high-protein seeds. The seeds of lupines are said to aid digestion. The sees have been used in skincare for removing spots from the face. In addition, the Romans used the flat seeds for theater money. 

Lupine Flower Meaning

Paintings & Gifts: Lupine Majesty by Kathleen Karlsen

Lupines in the Garden

The scent from lupine blossoms is like that of honey, a nice addition to any garden. The magnificent flower spikes can be from 36-60 inches high. Lupines need full sun, rich soil and lots of moisture. They can grow in poor soils if the soil is not too alkaline.

An interesting side note is that lupines are the only food for the Karner blue butterfly’s caterpillar. The larvae crawl up the stems of wild lupines to feed on the new leaves in mid-April. In terms of colors, lupines come in blue, pink, white, yellow and purple. The flowers are useful for dyeing cloth. Read more about purple flower color meaning.

Kathleen Karlsen Book Author

Kathleen Karlsen

Author of Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine

The information in this article has been excerpted from the book Flower Symbols: The Language of Love by Kathleen Karlsen. This book includes ancient and modern flower meanings and folklore about the world’s most beloved flowers. Buy one for a flower lover in your life. Learn to “say it with flowers” for any occasion! 

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