Today
It is forecast to be Chance of Rain at 10:00 PM PST on December 19, 2014
Chance of Rain
61°/45°
Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » SCV Outdoor Report: A Lupine By Any Other Name

SCV Outdoor Report: A Lupine By Any Other Name

By Wendy Langhans

Image
Grape soda lupine actually smells like grape soda.

I could smell long them before I saw them.  An on-shore wind was blowing from the southwest, so I knew there were Bush lupines somewhere upwind, probably around the next curve in the trail.  

In the field I can easily identify lupines by their spiky flower stalk and their palm-shaped leaves with 7-9 leaflets.  Since there are many species of lupine in California, I only know a few by name.  But once you’ve smelled the sweet scent the Bush lupine, you never forget it.  You see, they have a second common name:  Grape-soda lupine.  And they really do smell like grape soda.

If you are a botanist, to be precise you refer to plants by their scientific name; in this case the bush lupine is called “Lupinus excubitus”.  This name has a story to tell.  “Lupi'nus” comes from the Latin “lupus”, which means "wolf," and refers to the ancient belief that these plants robbed the soil; much like a wolf steals a lamb from a flock of sheep.  But lupines do not steal nutrients from the soil.  In fact, the root nodules in lupine contain bacteria that convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form of fertilizer.  Lupines actually enrich the soil.

The second part of the botanical name, “Excu'bitus” means sentinel and refers to the tall-standing stalk of flowers that seems to stand guard like a sentry at his post.

So what’s the significance of a name?  In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling named one of her characters Remus Lupin, an allusion to his being a werewolf.  But I wonder – did she also have “Lupinus excubitus” in mind when she chose a name for this character, a guardian who protected Harry, a man with a sweet disposition, a teacher who enriched his student’s minds, and a man who suffered from prejudice because of his disability?  Nah – that’s probably too far-fetched – don’t ‘cha think?

Image
Another common name for this plant is bush lupine.

Upcoming Outdoor Events:  

Saturday, April 12, 8:30-10:30 am. Towsley Canyon.  Wildflower Photo Safari
Bring your own camera and join us as we stalk the wildflowers on this easy hike.  Meet at the front parking lot.

For directions and a trail map, click here .

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Saturday, April 19, 8:00-10:00 am.  Towsley Canyon.  Early Morning Bird Hike
It’s that magical time of year and birds are part of the magic. Join us on an easy hike to see which birds make Towsley Canyon home and those fabulous travelers that are flying through town. Beginners are welcome. Bring your binoculars and meet at the entrance to the park.

For directions and a trail map, click here .
Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Saturdays, April 12 and 26, and every Wednesday, 8:00 am.  Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.

 

Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie and a heart-thumping workout.  For more information call Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565 or machiamist@aol.com.
Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Saturdays, April 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.   Arbor Day celebration at Central Park.  For details visit the City of Santa Clarita’s website by clicking here .

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM 1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to www.LAMountains.com.

SCV Outdoor Report: A Lupine By Any Other Name

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About hometown