Lovely Lupines are Invasive and Non-Native

wildflowers of the gunflint trail   wildflowers of the gunflint trail

  The ditches of the North Shore of Lake Superior are filled with lupines ready to burst with color.  Soon there will be pink, white and predominantly purple lupines stretching to the sky from Duluth, MN to Grand Marais, MN.

     There are now several areas on the Gunflint Trail and on the side roads off of the Gunflint Trail that have large patches of lupines.  If some folks could have their way then all of these patches would be destroyed because the lupines are preventing other native wildflowers from thriving in their own habitat.  When the native wildflowers can’t survive then neither can the insects, birds and other wildlife that depends upon them for their existense. 

     There are two types of lupines found in Minnesota but neither are native to Northeastern Minnesota.  Wild lupines are smaller in size when compared to the large leaved lupines planted along the shore of Lake Superior.  The Wild lupines can be found in their normal habitat in southern and southeastern Minnesota

     There are other non-native invasive species in our ditches as well.  However none are as loved as the lupine and people have not been purposefully spreading them all over the Gunflint Trail.  The challenge with any invasive species is that it takes time and effort to get rid of them. 

      People need to do their part in stopping the spread of non-native inasive plants and species including the lupine.  If the lupines continue to spread along the Gunflint Trail then so will  the loss of food sources for our native insects, birds and wildlife. 

      Who knows, maybe the decline of moose on the Gunflint Trail is because of a loss of a particular nutrient from a plant the lupine drowned out and while the lupines are thriving our moose are dying.  If it is up to me then I’d rather see one moose over a million lupines.  Hopefully more people would rather see native species on the Gunflint Trail and keep the lupines on the North Shore.  Only time will tell.