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Lupine multileaf

Lupine multileaf (or multi-leaved lupine) is a fodder crop related to perennial legumes.

Lupine multileaf (Lupinus polyphyllus)
Lupine multileaf (Lupinus polyphyllus)
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©Karelj (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Economic importance

Lupine multileaf is a green manure and ornamental plant. It is of economic importance due to its unpretentiousness to soil and climatic conditions, early seed ripening, high multiplication rate, good yield of green mass and longevity (up to 10 years).

The culture is used to strengthen ravines and sands, protect young gardens and forest plantations from grazing. In connection with the growing importance of biologization and ecologization of agriculture, which began
at the end of the 20th century, the importance of multi-leaved lupine has increased.

The fodder use of this crop is constrained by the possibility of developing alkaloid-free varieties, the green mass of which could be fed to animals. The creation of lupine forms with a stable trait of low alkaloid content would make it possible to obtain feed with a high protein content in the northernmost regions of Russia, where other legumes are not grown.

In the north it gives 2 cuttings, in the forest-steppe zone – 3-4.

History of crop

The multi-leaved lupine originates from North America. It was brought to Europe as an ornamental plant and quickly acclimatized.

At the end of the XIX century. has found application in field crops in Russia, which is the only country in the world that uses this crop in field crops. This was facilitated by D.N. Pryanishnikov, who considered it the best green manure for the northern regions of the European and Asian parts of the country.

Cultivation areas

Due to its precocity, lupine is distributed up to the Arctic Circle, where it is able to produce seeds.


Seed yield, starting from the second year of life, averages 600-800 kg/ha.

Botanical description

Multi-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus Lind.) is a semi-shrub, well-leafy plant, with a small number of stems, up to 1 m high.

The root system is pivotal, powerful, penetrates deep into the soil up to 2 m.

On the stems are long multi-flowered inflorescences of blue.

The fruit is a small multi-seeded black bean that cracks when ripe.

The seeds are small, of various colors (brown with white spots, mosaic
and black). Weight of 1000 pieces 20-30 g.

Biological features

Differs in cold resistance and frost resistance.

It grows well on loamy and sandy soils.


In one place it can be cultivated for more than 10 years.

Multi-leaved lupine can be sown in spring under cover or in summer without cover. In the first year of life, it forms a rosette of leaves, which goes into winter. Regrowth in spring begins early, by the first cutting it can form 30-40 t/ha of green mass.


Sometimes agricultural technology is practiced, in which lupine is sown on one half of the fallow field, the other is left under bare or seeded fallow. At the same time, the steam-occupying culture should be removed no later than mowing the lupine. At the beginning of flowering, lupines are mowed, transported to the second half of the fallow field and embedded in the soil. Thus, one half of the fallow field is fertilized with mowed green mass, the second – with stubble plant residues of this crop.

Usually multi-leaved lupine is used as green manure for winter crops. To do this, it is sown in the spring under grain crops. P 45 K 45 is applied under presowing cultivation .


Sowing time – in the spring under the cover of spring or winter grain crops.

Before sowing, lupine and cover crop seeds are mixed and sown in the usual row manner. The seed sowing rate is 35-45 kg/ha, the sowing depth is 3-4 cm.

For faster germination of seeds, it is recommended to scarify them.

It is also sown by cutting or stubble after early harvested field crops.


When used as a green fertilizer, the green mass is plowed in the second half of June, 1.5-2 months before sowing winter crops.

Seeds ripen in July, while in annual lupine species – in late August – September.

Intended for transportation to other fields as a green fertilizer, the green mass is mown during flowering – the beginning of the formation of beans.

Growing for seeds

When growing lupine for seeds, it is sown in a wide-row two-line method according to a 45 × 15 cm scheme for the possibility of mechanized care for crops. For faster propagation of seeds, it is advisable to use coverless crops.

Fertilizers P30K30 are applied before sowing.

Seeds are recommended to be treated with bacterial preparations.

Seed harvesting begins when half of the formed beans ripen to prevent cracking and shedding.


V.V. Kolomeychenko. Horticulture/Textbook. – Moscow: Agrobiznesentr, 2007. – 600 с. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.