Lupines are members of the Fabaceae (pea) family. I've talked about some other members of that family--Vetches, Milkvetches and Locoweed. Peas are great for the soil since they take nitrogen from the air and 'fix' it in the soil, giving nutrients for other plants.
Lupines are pretty plants even before they bloom. The leaves are digitate or palmate, so they come out from one central point like the fingers of a hand. Early in the season that's all you can see, but they're distinctive, and are a sign that summer will come.
|Lupine (Lupinus argentum)|
|Closeup of Lupine flowers|