Lupinus bogotensis

Thank you once again to Priscilla Burcher of Colombia (aka Priscilla Burcher@Flickr) for today’s photograph, taken a couple months ago: Lupinus bogotensis, shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Much appreciated!

Worldwide, Lupinus contains about 250 species, with two main centres of diversity: western North America and the Andes. A few species are also native to the Mediterranean region, tropical African highlands, eastern South America and southeastern USA. Lupinus bogotensis, as its name suggests, is part of the rich Andean grouping (native to Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador). Its common names in Colombia include altramuz and chochitos.

The 70-80 species of Lupinus found in the Andes are all thought to be derived from a single ancestral species that initially colonized the region 1.18-1.76 million years ago. The rapid evolution of new species is associated with new upland island-like habitats available in the region after the uplifting of the Andes, thought to provide new ecological opportunities (and hence radiation of species to exploit these new opportunities). High rates of speciation in the Andes is not restricted to Lupinus, as other genera like Valeriana and Gentianella also display the phenomenon–but none so high as Lupinus. In fact, at the time of publication (and perhaps still), this adaptive radiation of Lupinus is the highest rate of speciation known to occur in vascular plants. See: Hughes, C. and R. Eastwood. 2006. Island radiation on a continental scale: Exceptional rates of plant diversification after uplift of the Andes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 103(27):10334-10339. doi:10.1073/pnas.0601928103 . (link to abstract). Incidentally, this study was supported by the provision of plant material from UBC Botanical Garden. We grow few, if any, Andean Lupinus species, but the Garden did provide some western North American Lupinus and other fabaceous species to use as outgroups (which help calibrate the statistical analyses to determine relationships between species).

Lupinus bogotensis has been assessed by the IUCN Red List as “least concern”, as it is widespread and abundant in its range. It has been observed in “grasslands, Páramo, sub-alpine forest and secondary vegetation along exposed roadsides”, so unlike many other Andean Lupinus species, it seems to have evolved to be a generalist and occupy many ecological niches.

Lupinus bogotensis

8 responses to “Lupinus bogotensis”

  1. Sue Frisch

    What a gorgeous shade of true blue captured in this photo. Also, the information presented is especially interesting. Thank you!
    I was lucky enough to travel through Big Bend (Texas) National Park 6 or 7 years ago, in a season (late February) when the endemic L. havardii was thick as fur on the ground. We were too early for classic bluebonnets; good excuse to go back….

  2. Ann Young

    Do you have suggestions for a plant guide or information source for Patagonia and more specifically the Torres del Paine area in Chile. We will be there for 2 weeks hiking— Dec 24, 2012 to Jan 1st.
    We expect summer shrubs and wildflower blooms.
    Thank you,

  3. Trisha Mason

    @Sue, L. texensis, dear to my Texas heart with a broad scattering of Castilleja foliolosa (Indian Paintbrush), mid March in the hill country, nothing else like it in the world. Breath taking and soul soothing at the same time.
    The South American cousin is quite lovely. That shade of blue with purple tips very pretty.

  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Ann, consider:
    High Mountain Flowers of the Patagonian Andes by Ferreyra, Ezcurra and Clayton (via
    Flora Nativa de Valor Ornamental: Chile, Zona Sur by Riedemann and Aldunate.
    I don’t think either of these are the perfect book for you, but both should have elements of what you might see.

  5. Elizabeth Parnis

    Most interesting entry. 1973 I submitted a thesis on Lupinus albus which is one of the few non poisonous species of Lupinus. However Verticillium albo-atrum is able to penetrate the seeds and therefore can carry this plat pathogen. Fedotov, in 1936 suggested that Lupinus albus probably originated in North Africa and Asia Minor contrary to originating in South America as suggested above. No doubt more resent research has established its precise origin in S. America.
    Lupinus albus at the time of my publication, was used in the Mediterranean area as a forage crop, along with Germany, Hungary, Poland,Russia, Czechoslovakiua, Australia and the Gulf area of the United States.
    Although Lupinus albus contains harmful alkaloids, breeding programs have produced varieties free of these .

  6. Alexander Jablanczy

    Unless I am mistaken orogeny is on the time scale of 1OO,OOO,OOO
    years whereas Darwinian speciation takes a mere million years.
    The writeup implies that the uplift of the Andes progressed in tandem with the lupine explosion of species.
    The Andes was already there with its altiplano when the lupines arrived IMHO.
    The blue is exquisite even on a laptop and the flower fabulous.
    The blurred background be damned.

  7. elizabeth a airhart

    whomever however we are thankful for all the blue eyes this monday

  8. Adventure Nick

    Amazing color! Like Sue, I also got to see Lupinus havardii in Big Bend & the colors were almost as vibrant as in this species

Leave a Reply