My husband and I recently traveled to Duluth, Minnesota to participate in the maiden voyage of the newly re-certified Duluth and Northeastern Steam Engine 28. This was one of the earliest seasonal trips we’ve made to this area, so I was surprised to see the lupines blooming along the roadside right-of-ways. How beautiful they were! But oh how wrong I was….
I thought these lupines might be blue bonnets, but it turned out they are non-native invasive plants known as Large-leaved Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). Native to Western USA and introduced as a cultivar to Minnesota, they have in some cases escaped cultivation and in others, deliberately been planted along roadsides. So, as is typical of most invasive species, the Large-Leaved Lupine has formed large mono-cultures along the roadsides destroying native habitat and taking over food sources for native insects, birds and other wildlife.
My photos taken from our moving vehicle didn’t turn out very well, but I stumbled across this video.