Latin lupus — wolf, referring to the belief that the plants take over the land, depleting it of nutrients.
Annual or perennial herbs and shrubs. Leaves alternate, palmate and with long stalks. Leaflets 5-15, with narrow stipules fused to the stalks. Flowers in erect spikes or clusters, sometimes whorled. Calyx 2- lipped, each lip entire or toothed. Stamens 10, fused into a single group but anthers alternately long and short. Ovary stalkless. Fruit pod oblong, flattened, containing 2-12 seeds.
Grown in gardens for the interesting palmate foliage and showy spikes of flowers; also sometimes as green manure and fodder.
Many of the ornamental and colourful lupins are Russell Lupins. These were raised by George Russell of York, UK, who introduced them in 1937 after 25 years of selection. They are now available in a wide range of habits and colour combinations. Other species occasionally listed as annuals include the following: L. albus L., White Lupin, a white-flowered annual from the Balkans and Aegean; L. angustifolius L., Narrow-leaved Lupin, a blue-flowered annual from the Mediterranean, naturalised in WA, SA, Qld, NSW and Tas; L. arboreus Sims,Tree Lupin, a shrub 2-3 m tall with flowers yellow, blue or lavender and naturalised in NSW, Vic and Tas; L. hartwegii Lindl., an annual from Mexico with individual flowers coloured with white, green, lilac and blue; and L. nanus Dougl. from California, growing to about 0.5 m, flowers purplish with white basal blotches.
About 200 species from S and WAmerica and the Mediterranean.
Seed or division.
Some species are used as green manure and forage or for land reclamation.
Leaflets pinnate, stamens in a sheath open on the upper surface, pods dehiscent.
Source: (2002). Fabaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.