If you have ever seen a garden bed of Russell Lupins in full flower they are nothing short of spectacular. They make a perfect background plant and while not flowering, also have very interesting foliage.
Now I can remember when the nursery industry sold lots of lupin seedlings. They were even available in single colours. Suddenly, a ban was put on the importation or Russell lupin seed. As growers, we were told that the seed may harbour the fungal disease anthracnose. This is a disease that causes bending and twisting of stems. The branches eventually collapse.
At first I was a bit disappointed until someone pointed out to me that the commercial lupin industry in Australia was perhaps worth $20 million, and so why should they tolerate a few home gardeners causing potential damage. Fair point. Now the seed for the nurseries is produced in Australia and the risk is therefore minimised.
Commercial lupins are mainly grown in Western Australia where they are grown to condition the soil including generating nitrogen. It is also used for livestock feed, and as it turns out, these cows must have very low cholesterol and a minimised risk of heart attack. This is because some scientists have just got together and done some trials which include using lupin beans in flour. The results have been extremely positive in benefits to the body, that should reduce heart disease – in humans !
There is an excellent story on this at a website called Fresh Science. The link to their story is here.