Botanical name:Lupinus spp., especially Lupinus polyphyllus (common U.S. cultiuvated)
Common name: bluebonnet, lupine, quaker-bonnets
Lupine is a genus of about 200 species of herbaceous annual and perennial plants of the Pea Family (Fabaceae). Several stems often grow from a single creeping root. The leaves have long stalks, are alternate, and are palmately compund with 5 to 11 spear-shaped tips. leaves may be softly hairy or may have smooth tops and hairy bottoms. Early summer brings blue, purple, white, magenta, purplish-pink, yellow, or bicolored pea-like flowers, followed by one to two inch fuzzy pea-like pods. The flowers have one petal on top and two on the bottom.
Arctic lupine (Lupinus arcticus) is the most common wildflower in British Columbia, Canada. Desert Lupine, or Coulters Lupine, (Lupinus sparsiflorus) is common in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts of southern California and northern Baja, southern Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Arizona Lupine Lupinus arizonicus) is common in higher elevations of Arizona deserts. More than 70 species of Lupine occur in California.
Origin: West side of the Americas from British Columbia to northern Chile; a few species occuring in the Mediterranean, Brazil, and eastern North America.
The species with the earliest written mention (Lupinus termis) was cultivated in ancient Egypt for food The seeds are eaten by the poor after being steeped in water to remove the bitterness and poison. The stems were used as fuel for fire. In modern times the stems are used for charcoal for gunpowder. The ancient Greeks and Romans grew Lupinus albus for food.
The name of this plant is a reference to ancient worship of the wild wolf as a wolf-god.
cautions and contraindications:
Cautions and contraindications: Toxicity varies by species. Cultivated lupine tends to have low to moderate toxicity, while wild lupine has a high risk of toxicosis. Lupinus leucophyllus (velvet or wooly-leafed lupine) is the most toxic. All parts of the plant are dangerous, but especially the pods with seeds.
Lupine toxicity is due to the alkaloid D-lupanine. Lupine poisoning takes between an hour and a day to develop.Symptoms include breathing problems, twitching, nervousness, depression, behavior changes, trembling, trouble moving, loss of muscular control, birth defects, coma, and death.
Pets: Lupine is especially toxic to sheep, but all animals are at risk. Skeletal birth defects can occur in calves whose mothers eat lupine.There is no antidote. Allow affected pets to rest quietly. Travel or other stress can make the lupine poisoning worse.
Some herbs may be poisonious under some conditions. Exercise appropriate care.
Wild gathering: Avoid wild gathering. Some plants are endangered species. Some plants can be toxic just by touch. Even experts can make deadly misidentifications of wild plants. Please grow your own herbs in your own goddess garden (or window boxes).
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