Lupinus, commonly known as lupin or lupine,[note 1] is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family Fabaceae. The genus includes over 199 species, with centers of diversity in North and South America. Smaller centers occur in North Africa and the Mediterranean. They are widely cultivated, both as a food source and as ornamental plants, although in New Zealand's South Island, introduced lupins are viewed as a severe environmental threat.
|Sundial lupine (Lupinus perennis)|
The species are mostly herbaceous perennial plants 0.3–1.5 m (0.98–4.92 ft) tall, but some are annual plants and a few are shrubs up to 3 m (9.8 ft) tall. An exception is the chamis de monte (Lupinus jaimehintoniana) of Oaxaca in Mexico, which is a tree up to 8 m (26 ft) tall. Lupins have soft green to grey-green leaves which may be coated in silvery hairs, often densely so. The leaf blades are usually palmately divided into five to 28 leaflets, or reduced to a single leaflet in a few species of the southeastern United States and eastern South America. The flowers are produced in dense or open whorls on an erect spike, each flower 1–2 cm long. The pea-like flowers have an upper standard, or banner, two lateral wings, and two lower petals fused into a keel. The flower shape has inspired common names such as bluebonnets and quaker bonnets. The fruit is a pod containing several seeds.