8.1 Weediness status on a global scale

As discussed in Section 1, the Lupinus genus is widely spread around the world with forms that range from annual and perennial herbaceous species to some shrubby or tree types. The geographical distribution of some major lupin species is outlined in Appendix 1. The USDA-NRCS plant database contains 165 lupin species (USDA-NRCS 2012) and none of them has been included in the USDA Invasive and Noxious Weeds list (USDA-NRCS 2010). Holm et al. (1979) listed 16 lupin species as weeds in countries including Chile, Morocco, New Zealand, Spain and the USA. Globally, Randall (2002) named thirty-eight lupin species as weeds. Among them, L. arboreus Sims and L. argenteus Pursh were listed as noxious weeds in North America and L. arboreus was also listed as a quarantine weed in WA. In New Zealand, the introduced Russell lupin (L. polyphyllus) is also a well-known weed (Harvey et al. 1996).

Apart from possibly being weedy in their natural habitat, lupins may also be able to depress native plant species by altering soil characteristics through their nitrogen fixation and allowing the spread of non-native species (Adair & Groves 1998). For example, yellow bush lupin (L. arboreus), which is present in areas of the United States, Canada, France and Argentina, has been shown to promote weed invasion by increasing nitrogen levels and creating bare ground (Maron & Connors 1996), and has enhanced the spread of exotic weeds in the once nitrogen deficient Northern California sand dunes (Pickart et al. 1998).

However, some lupin species, such as Kincaid’s lupin (Lupinus sulphureus ssp. Kincaidii) and Scrub lupin (Lupinus aridorum), are also listed as threatened or endangered plant species in the USA for protection.

8.2 Weediness status in Australia

As discussed in Section 2.3, lupins are not native to Australia. Some lupin species, including L. albus, L. angustifolius, L. cosentinii, L. luteus and L. pilosus, were introduced to Australia for agricultural purposes. Other lupin species such as L. polyphyllus Lindley and L. arboreus were introduced as ornamental plants (Groves et al. 2005). As shown in Table 7, various lupin species have escaped from agriculture or gardens and become naturalised in all states except for the Northern Territory.

Table 7. Distribution of naturalised lupins in Australia*

SpeciesCultivatedStates where naturalisation occurred
L. albusYesNoYesNoNoYesYes
L. angustifoliusYesYesYesNoYesYesYes
L. arboreusSimsOrnamentalNoNoNoYesYesNo
L. cosentinii Guss.YesYesYesYesNoNoYes
L. luteusYesYesNoYesNoNoYes
L. pilosusYesYesNoNoNoNoYes
L. polyphyllus Lindl.OrnamentalYesNoYesNoYesNo

*Source: (DPI Victoria 2009; Richardson et al. 2011)

8.2.1 Weediness in agricultural ecosystems

Among the naturalised lupin species, L. angustifolius, L. albus and L. cosentinii are considered major weeds in Australian agricultural ecosystems, particularly in WA, while L. luteus and L. pilosus are minor weeds that warrant control (Groves et al. 2003). L. arboreus and L. polyphyllus are not recorded as agricultural weeds.

As discussed in Section 2.3, the domesticated, white-flowered L. angustifolius is the dominant species for lupin production in Australia. All cultivars of this species are soft-seeded with little dormancy compared to the wild blue-flowered counterpart, which is hard-seeded with prolonged dormancy (Boersma et al. 2007a). This greatly reduces the weediness potential of the lupin cultivars, particularly in crop rotation systems involving lupin.

8.2.2 Weediness in natural ecosystems

L. angustifolius, L. arboreus, L. cosentinii and L. polyphyllus are generally considered significant weeds in Australian natural ecosystems. However, none of them are recorded as controlled or noxious weeds (Groves et al. 2003). L. cosentinii is a significant environmental weed in WA but not regarded as serious problem in other parts of Australia (DEEDI 2011a). Although not widely naturalised in Australia, L. arboreus is regarded as a significant weed in the coastal regions in Tasmania and Victoria, and thought to pose a serious environmental threat to coastal dunes (DEEDI 2011b). L. albus and L. pilosus are minor weeds that are not considered important enough to warrant controL. luteus is also a minor weed but warranting control (Groves et al. 2003).

In WA, L. cosentinii is a widespread weed of roadsides, woodlands and heath from Carnarvon to Esperance, while L. angustifolius is a weed of road verges and woodlands from Geraldton to Albany. L. luteus can be found on roadsides and wasteland between Perth and Albany. L. albus is occasionally found on the Swan Coastal Plain and cropping belt (Hussey et al. 2007).

8.3 Control measures

In agricultural systems, lupin volunteers can be controlled through prevention of seed set for 3-4 years by mowing, grazing, cultivating and spraying with herbicides or hand pulling before flowering.

Herbicides (individual or in combination) in groups B, C, F, G, H, I and O can be used to control lupin volunteers either pre-emergence or post-emergence (Stewart et al. 2012) . A number of selective herbicides for broadleaf weeds provide good control of lupin. These include Lontrel 750 or Transit 750 (active ingredient: clopyralid), Logran (active ingredient: triasulfuron) and X-Pand (active ingredients: florasulam and isoxaben)(Dow AgroSciences 2009; HerbiGuide 2012). Clopyralid based herbicides are particularly effective on members of the legume family (Tu et al. 2001). The non-selective glyphosate herbicides are relatively ineffective on lupins (HerbiGuide 2012).

In Australia, lupins in triazine tolerant canola are not well controlled with pre-or post-emergent atrazine application only. However, the addition of Lontrel or Dicamba has been shown to be effective in controlling lupin volunteers (Piper 1998).

In non-managed environments in Australia, grazing by native animals usually keeps lupins under control in healthy bushland (HerbiGuide 2012).

Top of page