Thermopsis macrophylla is commonly known as false lupine, golden-pea or (rarely) Santa Ynez goldenbanner. It is native to western California, occurring in grasslands, chapparal and open forests. The online Jepson Manual also mentions it being present in Oregon, but the USDA PLANTS database disagrees.
More disagreement surrounds whether the variety agnina should be recognized as its own distinct taxon. Thermopsis macrophylla var. agnina, Santa Ynez false-lupine, is a robust-growing version of what is typically seen in the rest of the species. It only occurs in the Santa Ynez mountains of Santa Barbara County in California. The Jepson Manual mentions this variety without discounting it (but does not “officially” add it as a taxon with its own entry). The USDA PLANTS database does not recognize it as being separate, and instead lumps it in with the rest of the species. Despite attempts to slot taxa into tidy boxes, biological reality resists. This is in part due to the ongoing process of evolution – I tend to think about these muddy instances of “is it different enough to be its own variety?” as “evolution in action”.
In local news, this month’s Café Scientifique at the Railway Club in Vancouver features Dr. Tara Ivanochko discussing “The Big picture of Climate Change: Natural Systems and Human Agency”. The details for this free event on Tuesday night are available on Café Scientifique Vancouver’s web site (What is Café Scientifique?).
Biology / art resource link: From the American Museum of Natural History, Dioramas goes far beyond images of the museum’s dioramas – it offers virtual tours and behind-the-scenes glimpses into these educational treasures.