Common Name: Sand Lupin
Lupinus brevicaulis is an annual plant growing 3 - 10cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
Lupinus species in general (and especially the seeds) contain a range of bitter-tasting alkaloids such as lupine, anagyrine, sparteine and hydroxylupanine. The pharmacological effects of these alkaloids are that they block ganglionic transmission, decrease cardiac contractility and contract uterine smooth muscle[
]. When ingested in moderate to large quantities they can cause symptoms such as respiratory depression and slow heartbeat, sleepiness and convulsions[
Alkaloid levels can vary greatly from species to species, and several members of the genus are used for food. In some species low-alkaloid, sweeter-tasting varieties have been developed. There are also techniques (particularly soaking and discarding the soak water) that lower the alkaloid levels.
Unless it is known that the plant is low in alkaloids then caution should be applied to any ingestion of the plant[
Fungal toxins can readily invade the crushed seed and can cause chronic illness[
Southwestern N. America - Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, northern Mexico (Chihuahua)
Sandy places in woodland, scrub and desert; at elevations from 1,200 - 2,300 metres[
Members of this genus are mainly found in dry habitats, often on stony and low fertility soils[
]. In cultivation they generally grow well if given a sunny position in a deep, well-drained, moderately fertile soil with a neutral to slightly acid pH[
The crushed leaves are used as a liniment on boils[
The plant is used in the treatment of sterility[
We have no specific information for this species, but the soakwater used to extract alkaloids from several edible species of lupin has been shown to be effective as a biocide[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow in mid spring in situ[
]. You may need to protect the seed from mice. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.