Index of Species Information
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION :
Matthews, Robin F. 1993. Lupinus caudatus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ .
SCS PLANT CODE :
COMMON NAMES :
Kellogg spurred lupine
The currently accepted scientific name of tailcup lupine is Lupinus
caudatus Kellogg [14,15,19,53]. Lupinus is a taxonomically complex
genus and there is much confusion regarding nomenclature. Species
within the genus are extremely variable and freely intergrade, making
morphological characteristics used to separate taxa few and
inconsistent. There is much disagreement among authorities concerning
recognized subspecies, varieties, and forms [15,19,53].
LIFE FORM :
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS :
No special status
OTHER STATUS :
DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION :
Tailcup lupine is distributed from eastern Washington, Oregon, and
California east to Montana, southwestern South Dakota, northwestern
Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico [14,26,42,53].
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES22 Western white pine
FRES23 Fir - spruce
FRES24 Hemlock - Sitka spruce
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES28 Western hardwoods
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral - mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon - juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES37 Mountain meadows
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES40 Desert grasslands
AZ CA CO ID MT NE NV NM OR SD
UT WA WY
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :
4 Sierra Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands
KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :
K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest
K003 Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest
K004 Fir - hemlock forest
K005 Mixed conifer forest
K007 Red fir forest
K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest
K014 Grand fir - Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce - fir forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K018 Pine - Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K020 Spruce - fir - Douglas-fir forest
K021 Southwestern spruce - fir forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K026 Oregon oakwoods
K027 Mesquite bosque
K031 Oak - juniper woodlands
K032 Transition between K031 and K037
K034 Montane chaparral
K037 Mountain-mahogany - oak scrub
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K040 Saltbush - greasewood
K042 Creosotebush - bursage
K050 Fescue - wheatgrass
K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass
K052 Alpine meadows and barren
K053 Grama - galleta steppe
K055 Sagebrush steppe
K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe
K057 Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe
K058 Grama - tobosa shrubsteppe
K063 Foothills prairie
K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass
K065 Grama - buffalograss
K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass
K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass
K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss
SAF COVER TYPES :
205 Mountain hemlock
206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir
207 Red fir
209 Bristlecone pine
210 Interior Douglas-fir
211 White fir
212 Western larch
213 Grand fir
215 Western white pine
216 Blue spruce
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
224 Western hemlock
225 Western hemlock - Sitka spruce
227 Western redcedar - western hemlock
228 Western redcedar
230 Douglas-fir - western hemlock
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon - juniper
241 Western live oak
243 Sierra Nevada mixed conifer
247 Jeffrey pine
248 Knobcone pine
256 California mixed subalpine
SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES :
Tailcup lupine is found in a variety of habitats including grassland,
sagebrush, desert and mountain shrub, and coniferous forest
[14,26,35,53]. The following publications list tailcup lupine as a
herbaceous layer dominant in sagebrush (Artemisia ssp.), singleleaf
pinyon (Pinus monophylla), or lodgepole pine (P. contorta) habitats:
Vegetation and soils of the Pine and Mathews Canyon watersheds 
Pinyon-juniper succession after fires on residual soils of the Mesa
Verde, Colorado 
Classification and ordination of seral communities 
Plant associations of the central Oregon Pumice Zone 
Ecological classification of lodgepole pine in the United States 
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
Tailcup lupine is readily to moderately available within its range and
is consumed to a moderate to high degree by elk, mule deer, whitetail
deer, antelope, upland game birds, small nongame birds, and small
mammals . On the Columbia Plateau in north-central Oregon, tailcup
lupine comprised 70.9 percent of all forb shoots consumed by pocket
gophers in June. Leaves were also heavily utilized .
Tailcup lupine is also utilized by sheep, cattle, and horses [8,45].
Palatability of tailcup lupine is rated as poor to fair for cattle and
horses and fair for sheep . The early vegetative foliage and
immature pods are more palatable to sheep than mature vegetation,
probably corresponding to a relatively low alkaloid content early in the
growing season .
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
Nutritional values of stems and leaves of tailcup lupine at different
developmental stages have been reported .
COVER VALUE :
Tailcup lupine provides fair to good cover for small nongame birds and
small mammals .
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
Tailcup lupine's ability to fix nitrogen allows it to colonize soils of
low fertility. At high-altitude sites in Utah and Montana, it had the
highest average acetylene reduction activity per plant compared to other
nitrogen-fixing species .
In the Boise River Watershed in Idaho, tailcup lupine was not useful in
controlling erosion because it does not have a mat-forming root system.
The areas dominated by invader species, including tailcup lupine, were
those most susceptible to erosion due to high utilization by livestock
. Overall, tailcup lupine has been given a medium to low rating for
erosion control, and a high to low rating for its use in long-term
revegetation in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana . The lupine
genus as a whole has possiblities for use in management, but more
information is needed on the response of the genus to withstand
disturbance in a wide range of habitats .
OTHER USES AND VALUES :
A drug has been extracted from tailcup lupine for use in controlling
cardiac arrhythmia .
OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Tailcup lupine is highly toxic to livestock, especially to sheep
[20,32,42,45]. It is less toxic to cattle and horses , but causes
calf deformities if ingested by cows between 40 to 70 days gestation
[16,25,44]. It produces quinolizidine alkaloids which affect the
nervous system [25,30]. The alkaloid content of aboveground vegetative
parts peaks in mid-June at 0.9 percent and decreases to 0.2 percent in
August, during the pod stage. Alkaloid content of seeds ranges from 2.3
to 9.5 percent, making them highly toxic . Lupines (Lupinus spp.)
are responsible for more losses of sheep in Montana, Idaho, and Utah
than any other plant genus [20,32]. Tailcup lupine is one of the most
poisonous of the lupine species. In the seed stage it is probably the
most toxic member of the genus [16,44]. Plants are toxic from ay least
the beginning of spring growth until they dry in late summer [16,28,44].
Dry plants are probably poisonous as well . Sheep are poisoned by
ingesting 0.13 to 0.25 pound (0.06-0.11 kg) daily for 3 to 4 days.
Cattle usually graze tailcup lupine only when other forage is not
available. Ingestion of 1 to 1.5 pounds of tailcup lupine (0.45-0.68
kg) daily will poison cattle. The symptoms associated with tailcup
lupine poisoning have been described in detail [20,41,44,45]. It is
apparently not toxic to wildlife [8,23,45].
Tailcup lupine increases under intensive grazing and is most abundant
under poor to fair range conditions [28,47,51]. It often forms nearly
pure stands in overgrazed areas . Poisoning of livestock occurs
when poor range management has resulted in overgrazing and depletion of
preferred rangeland species . Tailcup lupine is unlikely to be
dangerous under normal range conditions . Where lupine species are
common, rangeland should be utilized when other forage is abundant, and
especially when lupines are not in fruit [44,45]. Tailcup lupine has
been controlled with the application of various esters of 2,4-D and
2,4,5-T [6,16,24,28]. Plants should be sprayed after they are
approximately 5 inches (12.7 cm) tall, but before they bloom [16,44].
After spraying, grazing should be deferred to let desirable species
occupy the range .
Tailcup lupine is common in pine types (Pinus jeffreyi and P.
ponderosa) in northeastern California. Frequency of tailcup lupine on
40-year-old units given various silvicultural methods was as
Silvicultural Method Frequency (%)
sanitation salvage 20
moderate selection cut 24
heavy selection cut 10
Lupines (L. caudatus and L. sericeus) responded with minor changes in
canopy cover to different management regimes in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga
menziesii)/pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens) habitat types in central
Idaho. Plants decreased slightly in cover, but seedlings established
when stands were selectively cut or clearcut followed by mechanical
scarification. There was a slight vegetative increase in stands that
were clearcut with no site preparation. Seedling establishment and
increased cover were evident in stands destroyed by wildfire and in
stands that were clearcut followed by broadcast burning .
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Tailcup lupine is a native, perennial, cool-season forb [28,41,51].
Simple or branched stems arise from a woody caudex and are generally 8
to 16 inches (20-40 cm) tall. Leaves are basal and have 5 to 9
leaflets. The inflorescence is a terminal raceme and flowers have a
conspicuous spur. Pods contain four to six seeds [14,15,26,53].
Tailcup lupine has a stout, deep taproot .
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
Tailcup lupine most often reproduces by seed [39,41,47]. The seeds are
heavy and are not widely dispersed. They will germinate in full sun or
partial shade. Tailcup lupine is not rhizomatous but will sprout from
the caudex .
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
Tailcup lupine is found on dry sites on gentle to steep slopes and in
open woods [8,9,26]. It grows best in dry, well-drained gravelly,
sandy, sandy-loam, and clayey-loam soils. It does not grow well in clay
or other organic, sodic-saline, or acid soils. Tailcup lupine has been
found to 10,400 feet (3,150 m) elevation in Colorado .
Species commonly associated with tailcup lupine in sagebrush or
grassland habitats include Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii), mountain
snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus), Wood's rose (Rosa woodsii),
curlleaf mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), manzanita
(Arctostaphylos spp.), Utah serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis),
rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia
sarothrae), wyethia (Wyethia spp.), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza
sagittata), knotweed (Polygonum spp.), buckwheat (Eriogonum spp.),
penstemon (Penstemon spp.), phlox (Phlox spp.), bluebunch wheatgrass
(Pseudoroegneria spicata), Sandberg bluegrass (Poa secunda),
needle-and-thread grass (Stipa comata), Idaho fescue (Festuca
idahoensis), Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), buffalograss
(Buchloe dactyloides), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) [1,3,5,10,43].
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Facultative Seral Species
Tailcup lupine persists under partial shade, but it's cover increases
with more sunlight and less competition . It occurs in seral to
climax sagebrush habitats in Nevada and Idaho [3,37], and in seral to
climax lodgepole forests in Oregon . It is also a component of
climax pinyon-juniper habitats in Colorado .
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
Tailcup lupine is a cool-season species with maximum growth occurring in
the spring . Flowering begins in May in Utah and Colorado, and in
June in Wyoming and Montana . Fruits are generally mature by July or
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS :
Tailcup lupine has a stout, deep taproot and it sprouts from the caudex
following disturbance. Seeds are stored in the soil and germinate on
mineral soil in full sun or partial shade. Stored seeds are usually 100
percent viable .
FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find Fire Regimes".
POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :
Caudex, growing points in soil
Ground residual colonizer (on-site, initial community)
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT :
Aboveground parts of tailcup lupine are generally consumed by fire .
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT :
PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE :
Some lupines are fire survivors and are present in the initial stages of
postfire plant succession . Tailcup lupine is favored or relatively
unaffected by fire in sagebrush or pinyon-juniper habitats. It also
germinates from buried seed after fire [33,52]. Pechanec  stated
that top-killed plants may make a ready recovery and rapid increase in
vigor, but an increase in plant numbers must await seed production,
usually in the second growing season after burning.
In sagebrush-grassland habitats of the Upper Snake River Plains, Idaho,
intense fire resulted in lower postfire forb production, most likely due
to the destruction of buried seeds. Lupines (Lupinus caudatus and L.
leucophyllus), however, were favored by burning. Biomass production of
the two species at postfire year 12 years is as follows :
Unburned 2.3 2.6
Light burn 3.6 4.1
Moderate burn 5.4 6.1
Heavy burn 54.4 61.2
In sagebrush habitats in the Great Basin Rate of Spread Study, done in
Nevada, there was a flush of forb growth, including tailcup lupine,
following fire. This growth was attributed to heat breaking seed
dormancy, increased available nutrients, and possibly the removal of
inhibitory compounds in shrub litter . Following the Red Rock Fire
in Nevada, tailcup lupine increased steadily in density in the first 4
postfire years .
Tailcup lupine was present 4 years after severe natural fires in
pinyon-juniper stands in Colorado, with a postfire frequency of 8
percent. Its frequency on sites burned 29 years earlier was 2 percent,
but it was not present in a 90-year-old burn in the same area .
Tailcup lupine was present in all stages of postfire succession in
pinyon-juniper habitats in Nevada and California. Occurrence and cover
percentages follow :
Successional stage Years since fire
Early 0-1 46.0 9.0
Early-Mid 4-8 20.0 7.0
Mid 15-17 32.0 0.0
Mid-Late 22-60 25.0 13.0
Late 60+ 19.0 0.0
Some authors report that tailcup lupine is slightly to moderately damaged
by fire [29,31,38].
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE :
On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains
of northeastern Oregon, tailcup lupine cover and frequency in postfire year
4 were higher on thinned-and-burned sites than on thinned, prescribed burned,
or unburned control sites. Tailcup lupine was determined to be an indicator
species for thinned-and-burned sites (P≤0.05). For further information
on the effects of thinning and burning treatments on tailcup lupine and
48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood and
others'  study.
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
SPECIES: Lupinus caudatus
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