Lupins of Mackenzie Country

Lupins of Mackenzie Country

Lupins have become a particularly striking feature of Canterbury’s Mackenzie Country. These pop up in late spring and early summer. They were introduced sometime in the 1940s / 1950s from the UK. One story suggests that Connie Scott deliberately brought seeds from the UK and spread them along the roads to add colour to the otherwise austere environment. Despite the fast-growing flowers being considered a weedy pest species, they do help restore damaged soil. Surrounding stations are also using lupins as animal feed.

Regardless, 75 years later the colourisation plan worked and they are now a spectacular sight in December and January. Whole fields of colour are visible, in addition to regular road and lakeside wilding gardens. The array of colours is also incredible. The flowers are generally blue through purple, but look more closely to see all the colours of the rainbow.

The lupins in NZ originated in the Mediterranean. Romans planted them throughout Europe over 2,000 years ago! Today they are a popular snack in the Middle East. They are also native to the Americas, with the Mackenzie being just their latest conquest!

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