This species has been confused in literature with Thermopsis lupinioides (syn Thermopsis fabacea), a species found in the Russian Far East, Japan and Korea. All the uses included here refer to this species, the uses included in the record for Thermopsis lupinioides might also belong here. See Brummitt, R. K., et al. 'Report of the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants: 60.' Taxon, vol. 58, no. 1,
, pp. 280-292. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27756843.
Thermopsis glabra Czefr.
Thermopsis orientalis Czefr.
Thermopsis sibirica Czefr.
Thermopsis lanceolata is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from a long, branched, rhizomatous rootstock; it produces a cluster of branched or simple stems 10 - 30cm long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for use as a medicine and is traded locally. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens, valued especially for its attractive foliage and lupin-like spires of yellow flowers[
The plant is very poisonous. The seeds have harmful effects when present as an impurity in flour to the extent of 20.5% [?] by weight. The plant is avoided by livestock[
Asia - Kazakhstan, Siberia, Mongolia, western and central China, Nepal
Occurring in large groups in steppes, often saline, steppe slopes, sometimes stony, sandy places, and river valleys; often a weed of field crops, especially of wheat, gullies, and roadsides[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Thermopsis lanceolata is a plant of temperate continental climates and is very cold-hardy, able to tolerate winter temperatures falling to around -35°c[
]. It grows best in regions with hot summers.
Requires a sunny position, succeeding in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil[
Plants can spread fairly rapidly by means of rhizomes, and can out-compete less vigorous plants[
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[
The leaves and root are used in Mongolian medicine. The taste is bitter, the potency is cool and heavy. It is used for treating wounds and fever, and for fortifying the body. It is an ingredient in several traditional prescriptions in Mongolia[
The leaves are used as an expectorant[
Thermopsis has application in Tibetan medicine. The plant provides a very promising expectorant, superior in its effect to ipecac and other imported agents[
The plant contains several alkaloids, including cytisine, anagrine, pachycarpine, rhombifoline, N-methylcytisine, N-formylcytisine, thermopsine, termopsidin, lupanin and spartein[
Infusions and extracts of the plant, as well as the alkaloid thermopsin derived from it, act chiefly on the medulla oblongata and cerebrum, more particularly on vomitory, respiratory and vasomotor centers; the effect on the living organism ranges according to dosage from tonic and stimulant to depressive and paralyzing or even fatally asphyxiant. The direct and reflex effects of small doses of thermopsine on the vomitory center are associated with increased secretion of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and are thus conducive to expectoration[
Thermopsis species in general have potential in soil conservation and stabilization projects. They fix atmospheric nitrogen, are drought-tolerant, deep rooting, and spread by underground root systems to form broad patches[
The flowers are a rich source of nectar[
Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually good and within a month[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring. Somewhat difficult, divided plants do not establish readily[