Patterico's Pontifications


A Lupin

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 6:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For your Sunday evening pleasure, see Dana’s photo of a California relative of the Texas bluebonnet:

“Like most members of their family, lupins can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia via a rhizobium-root nodule symbiosis, fertilizing the soil for other plants, this adaption allows lupins to be tolerant of infertile soils and capable of pioneering change in barren and poor quality soils.”



  1. like most California natives, they’re a stubborn lot….

    it’s all the imported species that mess the state up.


    Comment by redc1c4 (fb8750) — 5/23/2010 @ 7:03 pm

  2. That’s why Monty Python’s Dennis Moore was into stealing lupins, eh?

    Comment by either orr (58d2a4) — 5/23/2010 @ 7:32 pm

  3. no, he was stealing lupins because the parrot was dead.

    or was you post just Spam?

    Comment by redc1c4 (fb8750) — 5/23/2010 @ 8:14 pm

  4. Dum dum dum de dum…

    Comment by gazzer (7c0559) — 5/23/2010 @ 9:20 pm

  5. This lady’s a great photographer…skip the gags and take a look!

    Comment by Gary M (1201b5) — 5/24/2010 @ 12:13 am

  6. Lupin beans can also be pan-roasted with salt and made into kind of a poor peoples’ popcorn.

    Comment by nk (db4a41) — 5/24/2010 @ 12:22 am

  7. > That’s why Monty Python’s Dennis Moore was into stealing lupins, eh?

    Dang. Beat me to it…

    > or was you post just Spam?

    Naw. It was CHEEEEESE.

    Comment by IgotBupkis (79d71d) — 5/24/2010 @ 2:17 am

  8. The best part about the symbiosis is that the nodules where the nitrogen fixation occur contain leghemoglobin. The heme portion is made by the bacterium. The globin portion is made by the plant. The work together to bind oxygen, delivering it up when it is needed, but keeping the free oxygen levels low. This is because the enzyme that carries out the reaction, nitrogenase, is poisoned by oxygen.

    There are all kinds of lessons about society from symbioses, I think.

    And I haven’t even started discussing nod genes and flavonoids and luteolin.

    Sorry. Final exams and all.

    “Stand and deliver,” as Dennis More would say.

    Comment by Eric Blair (8eff53) — 5/24/2010 @ 7:09 am

  9. Lupine

    Comment by Dennis (362622) — 5/24/2010 @ 7:12 am

  10. Mr. Moore . . . . Mr. Moore

    Comment by Techie (85e7c1) — 5/24/2010 @ 9:38 am

  11. Eric-
    Thank you for that bit of interesting science fact. (serious, not sarc)
    The question is (semi-sarc) how many lawyers did it take to negotiate that contract?

    Are you aware of how that system might have developed? I’ve never seen the “irreducible complexity” argument applied to anything other than intracellular structures or organismal (the eye) before, but this would be along the smae line, I would think.

    And yes, the photo of the lupine is beautiful.

    Comment by MD in Philly (cb8efe) — 5/24/2010 @ 9:45 am

  12. Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, is not in this bit.
    That is fascinating stuff. But don’t tell the wife ‘coz she’ll plant them in some of our less-than-optimally fertile soil.

    Comment by either orr (7cffdd) — 5/24/2010 @ 10:47 am

  13. Lupin is a variant on lupine from the Latin lupinus (as I recall). Both are acceptable.

    And thanks, DRJ for the nod.

    Comment by Dana (1e5ad4) — 5/24/2010 @ 4:20 pm

  14. Hi MD. If you are serious (and you usually are), here are some places to start:

    Actually, wikipedia ain’t bad. But I often assign this paper:

    It’s fun to tell students that the globin moiety of leghemoglobin is actually pretty closely related to whale myoglobin!

    Symbioses are about negotiation and communication!

    Comment by Eric Blair (8eff53) — 5/24/2010 @ 9:05 pm

  15. Thanks, Eric. I’ve got the paper, now to find the time to read it.

    Comment by MD in Philly (cb8efe) — 5/25/2010 @ 7:51 am

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