Considering that their distribution is limited to altitudinal gradients along mountains that are likely to become warmer and drier, climate change poses an increased threat to temperate forest species from tropical regions. We studied whether the understorey shrub Lupinus elegans, endemic to temperate forests of west-central Mexico, will be able to withstand the projected temperature increase under seven climate change scenarios. Seeds were collected along an altitudinal gradient and grown in a shade-house over 7 months before determining their temperature tolerance as electrolyte leakage. The plants from colder sites tolerated lower temperatures, i.e. the temperature at which half of the maximum electrolyte leakage occurred (LT50), ranged from −6.4 ± 0.7 to −2.4 ± 0.3 °C. In contrast, no pattern was found for tolerance to high temperature (LT50 average 42.8 ± 0.3 °C). The climate change scenarios considered here consistently estimated an increase in air temperature during the present century that was higher for the maximum air temperature than for the mean or minimum. In particular, the anomaly from the normal maximum air temperature at the study region ranged from 2.8 °C by 2030 to 5.8 °C by 2090. In this respect, the inability of L. elegans to adapt to increasingly higher temperatures found here, in addition to a possible inhibition of reproduction caused by warmer winters, may limit its future distribution.