Walking along Water Street on a beautiful day in June confirms that summer has arrived in Eastport with the blooming of the Lupine. This is an event many locals have anticipated since the rosettes of leaves emerged in place of melting snow. Slowly through the spring they gain energy that results in an extraordinary explosion of color. Though not unique to Eastport, or New England, there seems to be something about the fresh cool breezes from the ocean that keep the air clear and the colors vivid, enhancing many of the views of the islands of Passamaquoddy Bay.
There is a wide variety of wildflowers on display at this time of year that offer an entire palette of color. Perhaps what makes the Lupines so intriguing is the colorful variety they display on their own. Purple tends to be the dominant color but spikes of fuchsia, pink, lavender and near-white also punctuate the patches of flowers found in fields, hillsides, roadside clearings, and open lots. If you are lucky enough to also be down-wind of a grouping of the tall and showy flowers, you will also be treated to a softly sweet fragrance.
As members of the plant family Fabaceae, Lupine have lots of relatives in the floral world throughout America, including the well-known Bluebonnets from Texas. The flowers are held on tall spikes, sometimes more than a foot in length that are lifted by the plant to waist- or chest-high. Once the blooming is over, seeds are produced in long, bean-like pods on the plant. They easily reseed themselves for next year’s show.
Written by Gail McGlamery