Ecuador – Since Bluebonnets were not part of the Mississippi Delta’s natural landscape, I never knew much about them. I always admired photos that showcased their lovely sprays of blue that blanketed landscapes different than my own. We had countless lovely compensations – like the delicate pink buttercups and ———— and I draw a blank! Now that I reach back to recall what natural species blanketed the landscape, I realize that more often than not, it was an altered landscape. The Mississippi Delta ‘Flatlands’ were combed with digitally-straight rows of cotton – or were blanketed with wheat or soybeans or rice or even grain sorghum!
Deciduous hardwoods lined streams and lakes or provided borders between properties. Willows sprang up like weeds and grew as fast. Large tracts of hardwoods provided food and cover for the native flora and fauna and anchored healthy patches of that much-altered landscape. I recalled many vistas, including the water-loving cypress trees, but remembered no wildflower vistas as lovely as those Bluebonnets.
Recently Linda Leinin and Steve Schwartzman both showcased the Bluebonnets in their posts, and as always, I connected those closeup images to the Lupines that grow in Ecuador’s Andean highlands. I consulted a few of my old images, then inspected my friends’ recent posts. I wondered if their Bluebonnets also produced an edible bean like their Chocho cousins in the Andes.
From Wilkipedia: “Lupinus_mutabilis…The bone-white seed contains more than 40% protein and 20% fat and has been used as a food by Andean people since ancient times, especially in soups, stews, salads and by itself mixed with boiled maize. Like other legumes, its protein is rich in the essential amino acid lysine. The distribution of essential fatty acids is about 28% linoleic acid (omega-6) and 2% linolenic acid (omega-3)…”
Steve and Linda are both tireless and diligent researchers and are known to hang with a challenge until the correct answer is found. I suspected that they might help shed light on this lupine-bean mystery. Continue reading