Living on the Lupine
Right now is a special time to visit the beyond the beach! The wild lupines are just now going into flower. The beautiful blue and purple petals form large beds under the oak savanna and pine barrens found in the high dunes. Most of the natural savannas in the state have been threatened with development or industry. The few remnants within the dunes harbor this amazing plant of the pea family.
Just as beautiful are the lupine are the federally endangered Karner blue butterflies of the Chicago Region that completely depend on the lupine for survival. The caterpillars are now eating the leaves from the inside, creating a “windowpane” effect when seen up close. New adults will take flight in July and the cycle begins again.
Wild Lupine habitat needs disturbance, such as fire, to keep the sun filtering in. You may see areas where prescribed fire has been used when you’re hiking beyond the beach. A few dune sites within the National Lakeshore and State Park will host wild lupine. The photo on the left was taken today on trail 8 at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Get out and check them out!
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