Species Profile

Streambank Lupine

Scientific Name: Lupinus rivularis
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2002
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: A highly restricted species with very few populations extant and extremely low numbers of plants remaining. Populations are all close to industrial and other development and at risk from impacts such as habitat loss, herbicide spraying, predation by exotic slugs and subject to genetic swamping through hybridization with a non-native lupine species.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in November 2002.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-01-12

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Streambank Lupine

Streambank Lupine Photo 1



The Streambank Lupine is a multi-stemmed perennial that reaches heights of 40 to 60 cm. It is an erect, herbaceous plant that can be slightly woody at the base. At first glance the leaves look smooth, but small hairs can be seen with a magnifying glass. The delicate leaves are compound (each is a grouping of smaller, individual leaflets) and palmate (arranged like fingers on a hand). The leaflets are long and narrow with a pointed tip, and are arranged in groups of six to nine. The lavender, pea-like flowers are grouped vertically along the stem above the leaves. Five to eight groups of flowers are arranged vertically along the racemes (flowers grouped along a vertical stem), which are 12 to 25 cm long. The Streambank Lupine flowers from May to September; most other lupines with which it may be confused do not begin to flower so early. The seedpods are black, or mottled black.


Distribution and Population

Globally, the Streambank Lupine is found only along the Pacific Coast, from northwestern California to southwestern British Columbia. In Canada, there are six known populations in the southwestern corner of British Columbia: five are found in the lower Fraser Valley, and one is on Vancouver Island. The size of the six populations known to occur naturally in British Columbia ranges from 1 to 100 plants. Trend information is not available for this species, but it is known to have suffered extensive habitat alteration and loss.



The Streambank Lupine is generally found along riverbanks in sites with little ground cover, although it can grow under trees where sufficient light gets through. Before the building of dykes, these sites normally would have flooded regularly. The lupine prefers sandy or gravelly soil at low elevations close to the coast, where there is little competition from other plants. It is also found along railway tracks.



The Streambank Lupine is an attractive, herbaceous perennial. It has a long taproot (a root like a carrot) and few fine roots, which helps it retain moisture in dry and disturbed conditions. The roots are nodulated (have small swellings containing bacteria that help fix nitrogen), enabling these plants to grow in dry and impoverished soil, where few other plants survive. The Streambank Lupine hybridizes (interbreeds with other closely related species and produces viable seed) readily with other native lupines. It flowers from May to September; and from June onwards, it produces large amounts of heavy seed that can be thrown up to eight metre from the parent plant when the seedpods explode. Seeds are likely dispersed by birds and rodents, and may also be spread by mowing activities along dykes and railway beds.



It is believed that the Streambank Lupine may have been more widespread along the Fraser Valley before the development of industry. Dykes built along the coastal stretch of the Fraser riverbank may have left the populations too dry to prosper. Maintenance work along the dykes and railway lines, including herbicide spraying and mowing, may eventually kill mature plants. Another threat comes from hybridization with the invasive (weedy) Yellow Bush Lupine Lupinus arboreus. This can result in genetic swamping (the genes of one species are overwhelmed by the genes of the other when the plants hybridize). Wildflower seed packets often contain Streambank Lupine seeds that may come from California; if so, they are likely to be from plants that have already hybridized with Yellow Bush Lupine. The spread of these hybrids, and of Yellow Bush Lupine itself, could lead to the eradication of the Streambank Lupine. The destruction of seedlings by non-native slugs such as the European Furrowed Slug Arion ater, and the picking of flowers by people, also pose a threat to this species.



Federal Protection

The Streambank Lupine is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.


Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Streambank Lupine (Lupinus rivularis) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry


Recovery Team

Streambank Lupine Recovery Team

  • Brian Klinkenberg - Chair/Contact - University or college
    Phone: 604-822-3534  Send Email
  • Sylvia Letay - Chair/Contact - Government of BC
    Phone: 604-582-5290  Fax: 604-930-7119  Send Email


Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Research/Monitoring Activities Several key ecological knowledge gaps exist for the Streambank Lupine, which require research and ongoing monitoring activities. Detailed plant ecology, demography, and genetic work are a priority. These include determining the site characteristics of existing populations; determining the limiting factors for germination and population expansion; determining the extent of the habitat required at each site, including analysis of soil chemistry, moisture, etc.; and determining the disturbance dynamics (natural versus artificial). Summary of Recovery Activities Contact with most stakeholders has been carried out through the participation and activities of the recovery team. Plans for landowner contact with private landowners are underway and an educational brochure for this species has been developed. Population stabilization methods, with guidance from the recovery team, are already underway within the lower Fraser Valley populations in cooperation with stakeholders and landowners, including fencing, parking lot barriers, signage, and site mapping. Members of the recovery team have conducted site assessments identifying initial management needs. URLsStreambank (Riverbank) Lupine:http://www.geog.ubc.ca/~brian/lupinusrivularis.htm


PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

8 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the streambank lupine Lupinus rivularis in Canada (2002-11-01)

    Lupinus rivularis Dougl. ex. Lindl. (streambank lupine) is a particularly beautiful species of lupine that stands between 4 and 6 dm. It has an erect habit and lovely lavender flowers that bloom from May until September. While taxonomy and nomenclature for North American lupines is particularly confusing, this species is readily identifiable, particularly when adding features of habitat and elevation to morphological features. It can be separated readily from other lupines in our area by a combination of delicate leaves, erect habit, and early flowering, and by its occurrence at low elevations.

Response Statements

  • Response Statements - Streambank Lupine (2004-04-21)

    A response statement is a communications document that identifies how the Minister of the Environment intends to respond to the assessment of a wildlife species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The document provides a start to the listing and recovery process for those species identified as being at risk, and provides timelines for action to the extent possible.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Streambank Lupine (Lupinus rivularis) in Canada (2017-02-03)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Streambank Lupine and has prepared the federal component of this recovery strategy (Part 1), as per section 37 of SARA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of British Columbia as per section 39(1) of SARA. SARA section 44 allows the Minister to adopt all or part of an existing plan for the species if it meets the requirements under SARA for content (sub-sections 41(1) or (2)). The Province of British Columbia provided the attached recovery plan for Streambank Lupine (Part 2) as science advice to the jurisdictions responsible for managing the species in British Columbia. It was prepared in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada.


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (2004-04-21)

    This Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 2, 2005) (2005-01-12)

    Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), is amended by Order of the Governor in Council (GIC), on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, by the addition of 73 species. This Order is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and follows consultations with provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal peoples, stakeholders and the public, and analysis of costs and benefits to Canadians.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2003 (2003-10-01)

    May 2003 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species Under the Species At Risk Act: March 2004 (2004-03-03)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.

Recovery Document Posting Plans

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan (2016-07-06)

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Three-Year Recovery Document Posting Plan identifies the species for which recovery documents will be posted each fiscal year starting in 2014-2015. Posting this three year plan on the Species at Risk Public Registry is intended to provide transparency to partners, stakeholders, and the public about Environment and Climate Change Canada’s plan to develop and post these proposed recovery strategies and management plans. However, both the number of documents and the particular species that are posted in a given year may change slightly due to a variety of circumstances. Last update December 2, 2021
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