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.
Lupin leaves seen from below.
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', 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. 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.
Cultivation and uses
The yellow legume seeds of lupins, commonly called lupin beans, were popular with the Romans, who spread the plant's cultivation throughout the Roman Empire; hence common names like lupini in Romance languages. Lupin beans are commonly sold in a salty solution in jars (like olives and pickles) and can be eaten with or without the skin. Lupins are also cultivated as forage and grain legumes.
Blue Lupin, L. angustifolius.
Lupini dishes are most commonly found in Mediterranean countries, especially in Portugal, Egypt, and Italy, and also in Brazil and in Spanish Harlem, where they are popularly consumed with beer. The Andean variety of this bean is from the Andean Lupin (tarwi, L. mutabilis) and was a widespread food in the Incan Empire. The Andean Lupin and the Mediterranean L. albus (White Lupin), L. angustifolius (Blue Lupin) and Lupinus hirsutus are also edible after soaking the seeds for some days in salted water. They are known as altramuz in Spain and Argentina. In Portuguese the lupin beans are known as tremoços, and in Antalya (Turkey) as tirmis[verification needed]. Lupins were also used by Native Americans in North America, e.g. the Yavapai people. These lupins are referred to as sweet lupins because they contain smaller amounts of toxic alkaloids than the bitter lupin varieties. Newly bred variants of sweet lupins are grown extensively in Germany; they lack any bitter taste and require no soaking in salt solution. The seeds are used for different foods from vegan sausages to lupin-tofu or baking-enhancing lupin flour. Given that lupin seeds have the full range of essential amino acids and that they, contrary to soy, can be grown in more temperate to cool climates, lupins are becoming increasingly recognized as a cash crop alternative to soy.
Three Mediterranean species of lupin, Blue Lupin, White Lupin and Yellow Lupin (L. luteus) are widely cultivated for livestock and poultry feed. Both sweet and bitter lupins in feed can cause livestock poisoning. Lupin poisoning is a nervous syndrome caused by alkaloids in bitter lupins, similar to neurolathyrism. Mycotoxic lupinosis is a disease caused by lupin material that is infected with the fungus Diaporthe toxica; the fungus produces mycotoxins called phomopsins, which cause liver damage. Poisonous lupin seeds cause annually the loss of many cattle and sheep on western American Ranges.
On 22 December 2006, the European Commission submitted directive 2006/142/EC, which amends the EU foodstuff allergen list to include "lupin and products thereof".
Ornamental lupins, Ushuaia.
Horticulture and ecology
Lupin population, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.
A field of lupin growing in an abandoned logging road in northern Maine.
Artist's rendition of a Mission Blue butterfly on a Silver Bush Lupin (Lupinus albifrons).
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 rumured 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.
For several Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), lupins are an important larval food. These include:
- Callophrys irus (Frosted Elfin)
- Chesias legatella (The Streak)
- Chionodes braunella
- Glaucopsyche xerces (Xerces Blue) - extinct
- Icaricia icarioides missionensis (Mission Blue)
- Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Karner Blue)
- Melanchra persicariae (Dot Moth)
- Phymatopus behrensii
- Schinia suetus
The endangered Lange's Metalmark (Apodemia mormo langei) mates on Silver Bush Lupin (L. albifrons).
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.
There are two subgenera of the genus Lupinus L.: Subgen. Platycarpos and Subgen.
Lupinus micranthus, Algarve (Portugal)
Yellow garden cultivars are generally Lupinus × regalis (Rainbow Lupin)
Close up of a Russell Hybrid lupin (Lupinus polyphyllus) in a typical garden setting, UK, England.
- Lupinus albicaulis "? Sickle-keel Lupin
- Lupinus albifrons "? Silver Bush Lupin
- Lupinus albus "? White Lupin
- Lupinus × alpestris
- Lupinus angustifolius "? Blue Lupin or Narrowleaf Lupin
- Lupinus arboreus "? Yellow Bush Lupin, Tree Lupin
- Lupinus arbustus "? Longspur Lupin
- Lupinus arcticus "? Arctic Lupin
- Lupinus argenteus "? Silvery Lupin
- Lupinus argenteus var. palmeri
- Lupinus aridorum "? Scrub Lupin
- Lupinus arizonicus "? Arizona Lupin
- Lupinus benthamii
- Lupinus bicolor "? Miniature Lupin, Bicolor Lupin, Lindley's (Annual) Lupin
- Lupinus bingenensis "? Bingen Lupin
- Lupinus burkei "? Burke's Lupin
- Lupinus caespitosus "? Stemless Dwarf Lupin
- Lupinus caudatus "? Kellogg's Spurred Lupin
- Lupinus cervinus Kellogg "? Santa Lucia Lupine (= L. latissimus)
- Lupinus chamissonis "? Chamisso Bush Lupin
- Lupinus concinnus
- Lupinus cosentinii
- Lupinus diffusus "? Spreading Lupin, Oak Ridge Lupin, Sky-blue Lupin
- Lupinus excubitus "? Grape Soda Lupin
- Lupinus flavoculatus
- Lupinus foliolosus
- Lupinus formosus "? Summer Lupin
- Lupinus havardii
- Lupinus hirsutus
- Lupinus hirsutissimus
- Lupinus jaimehintoniana
- Lupinus kuntii
- Lupinus kuschei "? Yukon Lupin
- Lupinus latifolius "? Broadleaf Lupin
- Lupinus latifolius var. barbatus "? Klamath Lupine, Bearded Lupine
- Lupinus lepidus "? Prairie Lupin
- Lupinus leucophyllus "? Woolly-leaf Lupin
- Lupinus littoralis "? Seashore Lupin
- Lupinus longifolius "? Longleaf Bush Lupin
- Lupinus luteus "? Yellow Lupin
- Lupinus lyallii "? Lyall's Lupin
- Lupinus macbrideanus
- Lupinus michelianus
- Lupinus micranthus
- Lupinus microcarpus "? Wide-bannered Lupin or Chick Lupin
- Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus "? Dense-flowered Lupin
- Lupinus minimus "? Kettle Falls Lupin
- Lupinus mutabilis "? Andean Lupin, Pearl Lupin, South American Lupin; tarwi/tarhui, chocho
- Lupinus nanus "? Dwarf Lupin, Field Lupin, Sky Lupin, Douglas' Annual Lupin
- Lupinus niveus
- Lupinus nootkatensis "? Nootka Lupin
- Lupinus nubigenus
- Lupinus odoratus "? Royal Mojave Lupin
- Lupinus oreganus "? Oregon Lupin
- Lupinus parviflorus "? Lodgepole Lupin
- Lupinus peirsonii "? Peirson's Lupin
- Lupinus perennis "? Wild Perennial Lupin, Sundial Lupin, Indian beet, Old maid's bonnets
- Lupinus plattensis
- Lupinus polycarpus "? Smallflower Lupin
- Lupinus polyphyllus "? Largeleaf Lupin, Bigleaf Lupin, Garden Lupin, Russell Lupin
- Lupinus prunophilus "? Hairy Bigleaf Lupin
- Lupinus pusillus "? Small Lupin
- Lupinus × regalis "? Rainbow Lupin
- Lupinus rivularis "? Riverbank Lupin
- Lupinus rupestris
- Lupinus sericeus "? Pursh's Silky Lupin
- Lupinus smithianus
- Lupinus sparsiflorus "? Desert Lupin, Coulter's Lupin, Mojave Lupin
- Lupinus stiversii
- Lupinus subcarnosus "? "Buffalo clover"
- Lupinus succulentus "? Succulent Lupin, Arroyo Lupin, Hollowleaf Annual Lupin
- Lupinus sulphureus "? Sulphur Lupin or Sulphur-flower Lupin
- Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii "? Kincaid's Lupin (formerly in L. oreganus)
- Lupinus texensis "? Texas Bluebonnet
- Lupinus tidestromii "? Tidestrom's Lupin
- Lupinus toratensis "? Warwanzo, Lito
- Lupinus vallicola "? Open Lupin
- Lupinus variicolor "? Varied Lupin
- Lupinus villosus
- Lupinus wyethii "? Wyeth's Lupin
Lupins in popular culture
Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided.
Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (June 2009)
- Bluebonnet lupins, notably the Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) are the state flower of Texas, USA.
- A Monty Python sketch featured a would-be Robin Hood named Dennis Moore, who stole lupins from the rich and gave them to the poor. Although he was very successful, the poor argued that money or food would be more practical.
- The lupin has also lent its name to Arsène Lupin, the main character in a series of stories by Maurice Leblanc (the name is a parody of Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin). He was a gentleman thief who first appeared in 1905. The popular Japanese comic book/Anime character Lupin III is an unofficial spin-off of this series.
- In the British adventure series The Avengers, in the episode Who's Who it is revealed the British Secret Service gives their agents code name based on flowers worn on the lapel (e.g. "Tulip", "Daffodil", "Rose"). Though he is only seen dead, one agent is clearly wearing a lupin.
- In the children's book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, the protagonist plants lupins to make the world a more beautiful place.
- In the Japanese magical girl anime Ojamajo Doremi, the character Onpu Segawa frequently sings a lullaby titled Lupinus no Komoriuta ("Lullaby of the Lupins") to baby Hana Makihatayama during season 2.
- In George Grossmith's comic novel The Diary of a Nobody, the protagonists' son is named Lupin.
- In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Harry has a friend and teacher named Remus Lupin, who is a werewolf. However, in this case, the surname "Lupin" refers not to the flower but to the Latin word "lupus" which means "wolf".
- In the 2001 Fox Reality TV show Murder in Small Town X, the leaders of the fictional town of Sunrise had a secret society called the "The Order of the Scarlet Lupine."
- In some parts of the United Kingdom the term "lupin" can be used to describe someone in a derogatory fashion and is roughly synonymous with the words "fool" or "idiot".