Carolina Bushpea, Carolina Lupine, Aaron's Rod, Blue Ridge Buckbean

Thermopsis villosa

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Thermopsis (ther-MOP-sis) (Info)
Species: villosa (vil-OH-suh) (Info)
Synonym:Thermopsis caroliniana
Synonym:Baptisia villosa
Synonym:Sophora villosa



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wilmington, Delaware

Lula, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Bar Mills, Maine

Buckfield, Maine

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Southborough, Massachusetts

Munsonville, New Hampshire

Winchester, New Hampshire

Frenchtown, New Jersey

Pennsauken, New Jersey

Farmington, New York

Graham, North Carolina

High Point, North Carolina

Glenside, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

West Grove, Pennsylvania

Summerville, South Carolina

Hood, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 20, 2015, StellaElla from Graham, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Thermopsis is perfect for any cottage garden with its beautiful yellow blooms, and the plant itself is attractive throughout the growing season with an almost kelly green hue and pretty leaves. Deadhead the seedpods and make more, but they take a few years to mature. I am grateful for this pretty plant that took to an area of my garden that rejected a number of species. Excellent in the Carolina clay!


On Jun 10, 2012, gregr18 from Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Yes, it is easy to grow, and it prospers in dry soil. Very attractive yellow flowers attract bees and butterflies.


On Dec 8, 2011, greeninitiative from West Grove, PA wrote:

This plant is gorgeous, and very easy to grow. I manage a large conservation areas with broad meadows and this species stands out beautifully!


On Apr 23, 2011, maryh777 from Cape Elizabeth, ME wrote:

I'm growing Carolina Lupine in part-sun on a hillside with sea oats on the coast of Maine, looks lovely. I'll be trying to grow more from seed. Might combine well with switchgrass also.


On Aug 20, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Carolina Bushpea is a Southest U.S. native, found growing wild in forest clearings. It will grow well in most areas, although it is a slow starter from seed.

For best results, give the plant plenty of room to grow. It can dominate the border in early spring with its size and striking flowers.

Can tolerate some dryness, although it will do best with moist soil. Has a long taproot, and does not transplant well.