Blue Lupine (Lupinus nootkatensis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Blue Lupine
Lupinus nootkatensis
Leguminosae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Seed – cooked[105]. Used as a protein-rich vegetable or savoury dish in any of the ways that cooked beans are used, they can also be roasted or ground into a powder. If the seed is bitter this is due to the presence of toxic alkaloids and the seed should be thoroughly leached before being cooked[2, 105].

    Root – raw or cooked[256, 257]. Peeled and then eaten raw or boiled[257]. The roots are harvested in the spring and are then roasted before being eaten[256]. The roasted root can be dried, ground into a flour and then stored for later use. The raw root should not be eaten since they contain toxic alkaloids and will cause a drunken-like state if eaten in excess, but the cooked root is safe to eat[256, 257].

    Seedpods – cooked[105].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The seed of many lupin species contain bitter-tasting toxic alkaloids, though there are often sweet varieties within that species that are completely wholesome[65, 76]. Taste is a very clear indicator. These toxic alkaloids can be leeched out of the seed by soaking it overnight and discarding the soak water. It may also be necessary to change the water once during cooking. Fungal toxins also readily invade the crushed seed and can cause chronic illness[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early spring in a greenhouse. Germination should take place within a couple of weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer. It should also be possible to sow the seed outdoors in situ in the middle of spring. It might be necessary to protect this sowing from mice. Division in early March[1]. Difficult. Basal cuttings in April[1]. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in any moderately good soil in a sunny position[200]. This species is very susceptible to slug damage, the plant has been cultivated as an ornamental, but has virtually died out in the garden though it grows well in the wild in Scotland[187]. Closely related to L. perennis[200] and possibly no more than a sub-species of it[50], the uses listed below are for L. perennis but it is assumed that they also apply to this species[K]. 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[200].
North-western N. America to N. Asia. Naturalized in Britain.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.