Every year we visit Lake Nipissing in “near” Northern Ontario. While we travel along the highway and sideroads to access our cottage country destination, I am always amazed by the fields of wild lupins blooming in June. Travelling north in the dark – I missed the display, but on the way home yesterday I was pleased to see their display. My pictures are all blurry – because we were moving fast!
Whenever I see them, I say to myself – “Self, get some Lupin seeds to plant in that roadside project of yours”. Of course I forget. I want Lupins right then – when they are in bloom in June – not next year.
There are about 200 species of Lupins – which are members of the legume family – like the peanut. They are native to North and South America, but there are also some species in Africa and the Mediterranean. Lupin legumes were farmed as a food source in the Mediterannean and in South America for thousands of years.
Lupin seeds are generally rinsed, soaked or boiled to reduce bitterness prior to cooking. They also can contain some toxic components and people who are allergic to peanuts (among others) can also be allergic to lupin legumes. I just love the shades of blue, purple and pink growing roadside and have no plans on harvesting them!
Lupins are usually perennials, but can also be annuals spreading from seed. The flowers appear on spikes. Blue Lupins appearing throughout Texas are known as Bluebonnets, and other native North American species include Quaker Bonnets and Old Maid Bonnets.