lupine or lupin (lōˈpĭn) [key], any species of the genus Lupinus, annual or perennial herbs or shrubs of the family Leguminosae (pulse family). These leguminous plants have been cultivated in the Mediterranean region since ancient times for enriching the soil. The seeds of some species have been roasted or boiled and used as food to some extent in that locality and in the Andes, and the leafy parts are used as forage both there and in America. Some of the many species native to the American West are poisonous as forage, causing the disease lupinosis to which sheep are especially susceptible. Poisonous species and their effects have not been fully determined. As a garden flower the lupine is a favorite because of the various colors and the tall spikes of bonnet-shaped blossoms. The leaves are usually composed of leaflets radiating to form a rounded handlike leaf. Certain movements, as from the horizontal to a vertical position, are characteristic of the leaves of some of these plants, e.g., the common wild lupine ( L. perennis ), also called sundial and quaker bonnet. The bluebonnet, or buffalo clover ( L. subcarnosus ), is the state flower of Texas, where it carpets the plains in springtime with its blue blossoms. In Scotland the name bluebonnet is given to the cornflower. The false lupine belongs to the genus Thermopsis. Lupine is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on lupine from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants