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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




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:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

High Point, North Carolina

Glenside, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

West Grove, Pennsylvania

Summerville, South Carolina

Hood, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.