Lupinus is a genus of flowering plants in the Legume family. Also known as lupin or lupine, lupins comprise almost 300 species found mostly in North and South America. Common also in Europe, Lupins were known to the Romans as lupinus not for their often furry tops and seed pods resembling wolves, but rather because the plant is so successful that it often takes over a landscape, much like wolves. The name lupinus derives from the Latin word lupus meaning wolf for this rapacious and overwhelming tendency to dominate a landscape. The modern name Lupinus was given to the genus by Linneaus.
Image of Lupinus courtesy of David Hoffman, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.