Lupinus digitatus auct.
Lupinus varius L., p.p.
Common Name: Hairy Blue Lupin
Lupinus cosentinii is an erect, robust, much-branched annual plant growing up to 120cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use of its seed. It is cultivated as a green manure and soil biner, and is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
The plant has escaped from cultivation in eastern Australia and has become naturalized in some areas[
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[
Mediterranean region - Portugal, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
Lupinus cosentinii is a plant of the Mediterranean region which has also been cultivated in cooler regions of the temperate zone. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 20 - 28°c, but can tolerate 15 - 32°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 400 - 850mm, but tolerates 300 - 1,700mm[
Requires a sunny position[
]. An easily grown plant, it prefers a light, acid soil but succeeds in any moderately good, well-drained soil[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7.5[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
]. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.
Seed - roasted and used as a coffee substitute[
The plant is grown as a green manure for improving and bining the soil, especially sandy soils[
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.
The seed can also be sown in situ as late as early summer as a green manure crop.