What are Lupins?
Lupins are plants that belong to the Fabaceae legume family. This particular plant is said to have about 280 species and varieties with much of them found in the southern and western parts of the North American continent. It is said to be cultivated as early as 2000 years ago with probable roots in the Mediterranean region particularly in Egypt. Lupins are sometimes called “lupinus” or “lupines” in other regions. Today lupin seeds are grown in Australia for distribution to many countries in Europe. Other countries like Germany, Poland, Russia, and the Mediterranean countries also grow lupins as forage and/or grain legumes.
Lupins are widely used as feed for a variety of animals. The white lupin variety is very high in protein making it a great food source for various animals like chicken and pigs. Lupins are also said to have many essential amino acids and that they have become alternatives to soy cultivation since this type of plant can be grown in warmer climates. Blue, white, and yellow lupin varieties are primarily grown in the Mediterranean region for poultry and livestock feed. Lupins are also grown as providers of nitrogen to the soil on which other types of plants are grown. Aside from pigs and chickens, lambs may also be fed with lupin seeds.
Lupins are also part of human food in the form of grounded seeds to make flour and pasta. The hulls on the seeds also serve as dietary fiber supplements for human consumption. The sweet varieties are also used as bread and cereal additives which give more dietary fiber content to these food items.
With the lupin plant bearing flowers with a variety of colors, many people also use them as ornaments and decorative pieces. Varieties such as “garden lupin” and “rainbow lupin” are grown in front and back yards for their beautiful flowers.