Thermopsis villosa (Walter) Fernald & B.G. Schub.
Thermopsis caroliniana M.A. Curtis
Carolina lupine, Carolina bushpea, Aaron’s rod, bush pea, false lupine, thermopsis
Carolina lupines are native to the southeasttern United States. These plants are not true lupines, but the flower stalks look much like those of lupines. In fact, Thermopsis comes from the Greek thermos, or “lupine”; and opsis, “like.” Villosa means “with hairs.”
Identification: Plants are 3-5' (91-152 cm) tall × 24-36" (60-91 cm) around, and hairy. Leaves are in groups of three, elliptic or top-shaped. (These are easily distinguished from true lupines, which have palmlike rosettes of leaflets.) Yellow flowers form on stalks up to 12" (30 cm) long. Fruits are hairy pods.
Thermopsis villosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Thermopsis villosa on plants.ces.ncsu.edu
Thermopsis villosa at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium
Thermopsis villosa on CalPhotos
Thermopsis villosa on Southeastern Flora, the Southeastern U.S. Plant Identification Resource
1If you were wondering, the Greek word thermos means both “lupine” and “hot.”
Thermopsis villosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
Range: Zones 4-9: