Lupins in Patagonia – Growth, Benefits, and Fun Facts

Lupins in Patagonia, scientifically known as Lupinus, are native plants that bloom in the landscapes of the southern tip of South America. This region is shared by Argentina and Chile. Lupins belong to the legume family and are appreciated for their beauty and vital ecological role, as well as their nutritional properties.

How long does it take for lupins to bloom?

The blooming time of lupins varies depending on the species and growing conditions, such as climate and soil:

  1. Time to bloom: Lupins bloom in their first growing season (spring in Patagonia). This occurs between 8 and 12 weeks after being sown from seeds. Some species may take longer or shorter, but generally, lupins bloom early.
  2. Duration of bloom: The blooming period of lupins lasts from several weeks to a month. This depends on the climate and the care the plants receive. During this time, the plants produce showy clusters of flowers in colors ranging from white to blue, pink, and purple.
  3. Plant life: After blooming, lupins produce pods with seeds. When the seeds mature, the plants die. In some cases, lupins are perennials, meaning they regrow in the next season from the same root. This varies by species and climate.

Lupins, plant in Patagonia. Lupins in Patagonia.

These timelines are approximate and can vary. For specific information about a particular species of lupin and its growth cycles, consult specific resources or gardening guides related to that variety.

A fun fact for when you visit Patagonia

When lupins have mature seeds and someone approaches them, they explode! This natural phenomenon occurs when touching the seed pods, creating a sound similar to a rattle, like a melody in nature. We plan to update this article soon with an audio capturing this fascinating phenomenon.

Stay tuned to hear this natural wonder!

Lupins: small seed, big benefits

Lupins in Patagonia, also known as chochos, altramuces, or tremosos, are leguminous plants native to the Mediterranean and America. With around 200 species, these stems, similar to a closed umbrella, present a varied range of colors, from white to deep blue, giving them high ornamental value.

The fruit of the lupin is a yellow or white legume, similar to corn, noted for its high nutritional value. They are an authentic energy source due to their high content of carbohydrates, amino acids, and high-quality vegetable proteins.

Studies by the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA) Carillanca have shown that lupins excel in protein content compared to other legumes like lentils, peas, beans, and chickpeas. Protein levels vary between 21% and 25%. Depending on the species, lupins approach the protein content of soybeans, around 39%, and can even surpass it.

Traditionally used as animal feed, this legume has been a vital resource for families during times of famine, providing necessary nutritional values for survival. Today, lupins are considered a “superfood,” comparable to quinoa and avocado in terms of benefits, though they are not used as food in Argentina, but they are in Chile.

Lupins, in addition to providing all essential amino acids, contain important antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, as well as phytosterols, which act as antioxidants. These properties help regulate cholesterol levels and are effective in treating hypertension and preventing cardiovascular diseases.

Find more information about lupins in this article.

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