Lupine or lupin (Lupinus) is a flowering perennial plant from the legume family that is known their large pea-like flowers that grow in dense clusters on tall spikes. The fragrant flowers come in a vast range of colours like blue, purple, pink, white and yellow; some varieties are bi-coloured. Lupines can also be identified by their distinctive foliage consisting of many narrow, pointed leaflets.
It grows in the wild in many parts of the world. Wild lupines are often a rich blue or purple. Most plants will grow to a height of 1 to 5 feet tall, but there are some that can grow to 20 feet tall!
As a cultivated plant, the lupine adds colour, height and beauty to any garden. Flowers will bloom in the late spring or early summer. They are quick growing and can accommodate a wide variety of climates. Plant in fertile, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. They do best in full sun. Tall varieties should be staked to prevent toppling and to protect from strong winds.
Lupines are often used in companion planting to help plants that need significant amounts of nitrogen in their soil like cucumbers, squash and broccoli. The most cultivated variety is the Lupinus regalis.
Climate zones: 4-9
Fun Flower Facts about the Lupine (Lupinus):
- Other common names: bluebonnets, quaker bonnets
- The name lupin comes from the Latin word, lupinus to mean “of or belonging to a wolf” because the plant has a tendency to ravage the land it grows on.
- Lupine bean pods are cultivated for food. They are commonly sold in a brine in North and South America; soaking the beans in the salt water makes them edible.
- Lupini dishes are common in Mediterranean countries like Portugual, Egypt and Italy.
- Blue lupine, white lupine and yellow lupine are widely cultivated for livestock and poultry feed. Though, bitter lupines found in the wild contain toxic alkaloids and are poisonous to livestock and small children.
- Lupine seeds is a good source of essential amino acids and is a becoming a popular substitute for soy. But people with peanut allergies should avoid lupine because those with peanut allergies also tested positive to lupine allergies.
- Make it Interesting with Lupine (erinhagerty.wordpress.com)