photos by Lisa Dworkin
(from the visitsouthwalton.com website)
Every South Walton beach neighborhood has a story to tell — and Blue Mountain’s is particularly beautiful! This area of South Walton boasts the highest local elevation (coming in at a very low 65 feet) and hosts a large population of rare blue lupine flowers.
In the early days, sailors arriving to South Walton would spot the small incline of Blue Mountain before they could see anything else in the area; from afar, the slightly steep land appeared more like a mountain. Because the area was covered in blue lupine blossoms, the sailors found it fitting to deem it “Blue Mountain.”
There are more than 200 different types of wild lupine species in North America. The beautiful flower comes in almost every color — the Lupinus westianus variety found in South Walton is a bright purplish blue. Though the blue lupine is commonly referred to as a flower, it’s actually part of the legume (that is, pea) family. It has small, delicate petals, grey textured fruits, and pockets full of dark brown seeds.
Blue Mountain’s Lupinus westianus is a biennial plant, meaning that it takes two full years to bloom. The plant thrives in sandy, acidic soil, and has far-reaching roots that help it stay grounded in loose dirt. Most Lupinus westianus plants live about four to six years.
The Lupinus westianus is listed as a “near threatened” species, with protected populations living in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and Deer Lake State Park. Make sure you help preserve Blue Mountain’s blue lupines by looking, but not touching, this beautiful plant species.