What Is Lupinus Lutea?
Lupinus lutea (L.) Juss., commonly known as fumewort or wild lily, is a perennial evergreen shrub native to Europe and Asia. It grows up to 10 feet tall with dark green leaves which are oval shaped, alternate along the length of each leaf, and 1/4 inch wide at their base. The flowers appear in clusters from May through July. The fruit is white and resembles a small flower. It contains two seeds, one of which produces seedlings.
The name “fumewort” comes from the fact that it looks like a weed but actually has many medicinal uses. Its leaves have been used traditionally for treating coughs, colds, sore throats, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. They were also believed to be helpful in preventing cancer and heart disease due to their high content of carotenoids. The leaves were also thought to increase fertility.
It was also used as a treatment for skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and others. It was also used to treat wounds and bruises. The leaves could be dried and ground into a tea for use internally or externally. The leaves were also considered useful in treating diarrhea, indigestion, vomiting and flatulence.
What Are The Origins Of Fumewort?
The origins of fumewort are somewhat unknown but believed to be the mountains of Southern Europe and Southwest Asia. It has also become naturalized in the United States. It is most likely spread through human activity, particularly the introduction of its seeds for medicinal purposes.
What Does Fumewort Look Like?
Fumewort is a low-growing evergreen with dark green oval shaped leaves up to 1/4 inch wide. The leaves are opposite each other on the stem, with the newer growth tending to be toward the top of the plant. It tends to grow in clusters and can reach up to 10 feet in height.
The flowers appear in clusters, with many clusters growing on a single stalk. They are bell-shaped and can be anywhere from white to light yellow in color, with a darker ring around the edge of the petals.
The fruits that follow the flowers are small pods which resemble tiny versions of the flowers themselves. They hang in downward facing clusters and are primarily white, though they contain two black seeds.
What Conditions Does It Prefer?
Fumewort is tolerant of a wide range of conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. It also thrives in a pH range of between 5.5 and 7, which makes it suitable for most gardens, parks and even some roadside areas where the soil tends to be less than ideal.
How Can I Grow Fumewort?
Fumewort can be grown from seeds or cuttings. The seeds can be directly planted into the ground or started in pots and transplanted once they are large enough. The seeds take about three weeks to germinate, so you’ll have to be patient. The cuttings are easier and can be rooted in a glass of water. Cut off a 4-inch section of stem with leaves attached, remove the bottom leaves and place the stem in the glass of water. The roots should appear in about a week.
Once they are big enough, you can transplant them into small pots until they are ready to be planted in the ground. You can plant them directly where they are going to grow or start them inside and transplant them outside once they are large enough.
Fumewort does spread out a bit once it is growing in the ground, so it is best planted in an area that can provide enough space for it to grow. It also does best when it is planted with other flowers, so if you’re going the cutting route, make sure to get at least two colors to start.
It can also be planted in a pot and kept as a houseplant, which makes it perfect for anyone who lives in a place where the soil tends to be less than ideal or anyone who wants to give it a bit of a rest during the winter months.
It prefers at least six hours of sunlight every day, so it’s best to place it where it will get that type of lighting. It needs to be watered when the soil is dry to the touch. It also needs to be fertilized about once a month when it is in active growth.
After it flowers, the stems will begin to yellow and die back, at which point it can be cut back to the new growth. At this point you should stop watering it until new growth starts again. It should be watered regularly once it starts growing again.
Problems With Fumewort
Fumewort rarely suffers from disease or insect attacks, but can be affected by several different fungal infections. If you live in an area that tends to have a lot of humidity in the air, it is susceptible to fungus. Lack of water can also cause problems, such as yellowing leaves and stunted growth. It will grow back if you catch the problem early enough. Fungal spores enter the plant through the roots and so it can be difficult to locate the source.
Taking steps to ensure that it is not exposed to an excess amount of moisture can help to prevent infection.
Sources & references used in this article:
If You Cut It, will They Come? by JL Hanula, S Horn, MD Ulyshen… – Plant and animal …, 2011 – researchgate.net
Winter Deciduous Woody Plant Identification by S Tuttle – txnativeplants.org
Texas wildflowers: a field guide by C Loughmiller, L Loughmiller, J Marcus – 2018 – books.google.com
The morphology of illustrated plants by A Zemanek, B Zemanek – Drawn after Nature, 2008 – brill.com
Poisonous plants and venomous animals of Alabama and adjoining states by W Gibbons, RR Haynes, JL Thomas – 1990 – books.google.com