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 Lupin subsp. var.  Lupins, Lupines
Lupinus polyphyllus
Habit: herbaceous
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
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USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Fabaceae > Lupin var. ,

Lupins or lupines (North America) are the members of the genus Lupinus in the legume family (Fabaceae). The genus comprises between 200 and 600 species, with major centers of diversity in South America and western North America, in the Mediterranean region and Africa.[1][2][3]

The species are mostly herbaceous perennial plants 0.3-1.5 m (1-5 ft) tall, but some are annual plants and a few are shrubs up to 3 m (10 ft) tall - see also bush lupin -, with one species (Lupinus jaimehintoniana, from the Mexican state of Oaxaca) a tree up to 8 m high with a trunk 20 cm (8 in) in diameter. They have a characteristic and easily recognised leaf shape, with soft green to grey-green leaves which in many species bear silvery hairs, often densely so. The leaf blades are usually palmately divided into 5–28 leaflets or reduced to a single leaflet in a few species of the southeastern United States. The flowers are produced in dense or open whorls on an erect spike, each flower 1-2 cm long, with a typical peaflower shape with an upper 'standard' or 'banner', two lateral 'wings' and two lower petals fused as a 'keel'. Due to the flower shape, several species are known as bluebonnets or quaker bonnets. The fruit is a pod containing several seeds.

Like most members of their family, lupins can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia via a rhizobium-root nodule symbiosis, fertilizing the soil for other plants, this adaption allows lupins to be tolerant of infertile soils and capable of pioneering change in barren and poor quality soils. The genus Lupinus is nodulated by Bradyrhizobium soil bacteria[4]. Some species have a long central tap roots, or have proteoid roots.

Lupins contain significant amounts of certain secondary compounds like isoflavones and toxic alkaloids, e.g. lupinine and sparteine.

Lupins are popular ornamental plants in gardens. There are numerous hybrids and cultivars. Some species, such as Garden Lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) and hybrids like the Rainbow Lupin (L. × regalis) are common garden flowers. Others, such as the Yellow Bush Lupin (L. arboreus) are considered invasive weeds when they appear outside their native range. It is also rumoured that if they are soaked in a container of water, they will grow better and faster.

In New Zealand Lupinus polyphyllus have escaped into the wild and grow in large numbers along main roads and streams on the South Island. Although considered attractive by some it is also seen as an invasive species.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Lupinus (from the Latin lupus, a wolf, because a crop of lupines was supposed to destroy fertility). Leguminosae. Lupine. Usually herbs adapted to borders in masses, and to all places in which low-growing showy herbs would be found; some make good bedding plants, others cut-flowers.

Mostly annuals or herbaceous perennials, 2 species in cult, being shrubby: lvs. usually digitate, with 5-15 entire lfts.: fls. with calyx deeply bilabiate, 5-toothed, unequal; corolla with simple erect broadly ovate standard, having strongly reflexed sides; wings united at the apex and inclosing the keel; stamens united into a closed tube: pod 2-valved. flattened, inclosing several large seeds.—A group of about 300 species mostly confined to W. N. Amer., a few growing in E. N. Amer., Peru, Brazil, Mex., Guatemala, Afr., and in the Medit. region. A very variable genus in the garden. There are numerous garden hybrids of unknown parentage. Some of these names will be found in the supplementary list. Voss groups these under the name of L. hybridus. Hort., and its vars. atrococcineus and roseus, or florists lupines. They have variegated fls.

In addition to those described below the following native species have been advertised, mostly by Gillett, in 1881, for western collections. Probably they are not in cultivation. They are mostly described in Bot. Calif.: L. albicaulis, L. Chamissonis, L. lepidus, L. leucophyllus, L. ornatus and L. villosus.

The lupines are showy plants with conspicuous flowers in terminal racemes, those of the species in cultivation being mostly verticillate. The flowers are blue, white or yellow, or a union of these, papilionaceous and free-blooming. All are of easy cultivation in any garden soil, except that they are said not to succeed in soil containing lime. They are propagated by seed, the perennials also by division. They do not bear transplanting when once established, hence it is recommended to sow seed where the plants are finally desired. A few species are of value economically for soiling or plowing under.

L. angustifolius, Linn., with blue fls., is much grown in Eu. as a fodder plant and for plowing under: annual. Native to the Medit. region.—L. pubescens, Benth. Perennial or subshrubby. the pubescence short, spreading, hardly silky in the new parts: 1fts. 7-9, oblong-lanceolate, acute, shorter than the petiole, pubescent on both sides: fls. loosely arranged almost in whorls: pedicels shorter than the calyx: pod hirsute, 4-6-seeded. The above is from the original description. Bentham neglects to state the color of the fls., but an allied species has blue fls. Mottet must be in error in calling this an annual. Mex., Cent. Amer., Colombia.—L. villosus Willd., is mentioned occasionally in garden literature.

The following are garden hybrids of unknown origin. They mostly have variegated fls. and are common in cult.: L. atroviolaceus. Perennial, 2 ft. high: fls. dark violet, striped with white and yellow. —L. coelestinus. Annual, 2 ft. high: fls. light blue.—L. Dunnettii. Fls. lilac-purple, gold and white. According to Voss, this is the same as the kinds known to the trade as L. superbus, L. insignis (Vilmorin, not Dippe), L. tricolor elegans and L. superbus Dunnettii. There is also a double form.—L. hybridus. Probably mixed kinds.—L. tricolor. Sec L. Dunnettii.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



Pests and diseases

The most significant diseases of lupins are anthracnose as well as wilting and root rot diseases caused by Fusarium and other pathogens, and some bacterial and viral diseases.[5]


Selected species:

Lupin and other wildflowers cover the mountaintop of Raspberry Island (Alaska)


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External links

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