Every second Saturday of the month, CWC leads River Health Days where volunteers help plant and care for a variety of native plant species to increase biodiversity and habitat complexity and support a healthy river ecosystem. Coastal Bush Lupine (Lupinus arboreus) is one beneficial plant you may spot growing along the river. 


Coastal Bush Lupine is one of the larger native plants found within CWC’s habitat enhancement site. It can grow up to 6.5 feet tall, but more commonly grows to 3-5 feet tall. If you take a closer look at its leaves, you will notice leaves are are organized into groups of 5-12 leaflets; together, these leaflets resemble a human palm with its fingers spread out (this type of leaf presentation is termed “palmate”). Leaflets feel silky to the touch and are dark green. Lupine puts on a show in the spring between March and June, when its sweet-scented, pea-like flowers bloom. These flowers are most commonly yellow, but can be blue or lilac.

Range and Local Locations

Coastal Bush Lupine is native to California and Western North America. It is commonly found in in coastal areas below 100 feet in elevation. Locally, you can find lupine in CWC’s habitat enhancement site between the Soquel Avenue and Laurel Street bridges on the east bank of the river.

Ecological Significance

Lupine provides many valuable benefits to the San Lorenzo River ecosystem. Not only does it attract a variety of pollinators, including insects and birds, but its tall, bushy structure provides shade for surrounding plants and critters. Additionally, lupine helps with bank stabilization.

Human Uses 

Since it is deer resistant and draws many varieties of insect and bird pollinators, lupine is ideal for bee gardens, butterfly gardens, bird gardens and hummingbird gardens.

Love lupine? Join CWC for a planting day!

You can make a difference in the San Lorenzo ecosystem by planting and caring for Coastal Bush Lupine and other native plants that enhance ecological value of our riverside habitat. Join other volunteers at monthly River Health Days to plant more native species like lupine. Sign up below!

River Health Days Volunteer Sign Up

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