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Lupinus pusillus  Pursh
Morton County, Kansas
Height: 2-10 inches
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period:   May, June, July
Also Called: Rusty lupine, low lupine.
Stems: Simple to bushy-branched, branching near soil level, stout, coarse-hairy; hairs to 1/6 inch long, rust-colored.
Leaves: Alternate, palmately-compound; stalks 1 to 2 inches long; leaflets 5-9, oblanceolate to oblong-elliptic, principal leaflets .6 to 1.6 inches long, 1/8 to 1/3 inch wide; upper surface shiny, mostly glabrous; lower surface soft-hairy; margins fringed; narrowed toward bases; tips blunt or pointed, often ending in short, flexible point.
Inflorescences: Raceme, 1 to 3 inches long, terminal, usually equal to or exceeding the leaves; stalks .4 to 1.2 inches long.
Flowers: Papilionaceous; calyx 2-lipped, sparsely soft-hairy; upper lip 2-toothed, lower lip entire; corolla glabrous, blue, purplish, pink, white or cream; banner 1/3 to 2/5 inch long, turned back; wings similar size, glabrous; keel sickle-shaped, tip often purple spotted; stamens 10, united in 1 group.
Fruits: Pods, oblong, 1/2 to 1 inch long, 1/5 to 1/3 inch wide, somewhat flattened, hairy; seeds usually 2, circular, 1/6 inch long, whitish to light green.
Habitat: Sandy prairies, dunes, stream valleys, and roadsides; dry sandy soil.
Distribution: West 2/5 of Kansas.
Toxicity: Reported to be poisonous to livestock.
Uses: The Hopi used rusty lupine to treat eye and ear ailments.
Comments: Lupinus is the ancient Latin name for this genus and pusillus is Latin for "very small" or "insignificant" in reference to the plant's low growth habit.

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