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Lupine Lessons

A Walk in the Woods


Randi de Santa Anna

Lupine (Lupinus)

The robust flower spikes that paint our forest floor purple are lupines. Though lupine seedpods look a lot like domestic peas and specific species were cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes and the Mediterranean, most species are poisonous and should not be eaten. The alkaloids in lupines have killed many sheep, horses, cows and goats.

Lupine (Lupinus) belongs to the Legume Family and we have ten species in Montana. In our rural environment where deer abound, lupines can be a rewarding addition to an unfenced flower garden because deer usually avoid them.

Besides being poisonous,...

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