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Allied to the Lentil as likewise a leguminous plant is the LUPINE, grown now only as an ornament to our flower beds, but formerly cultivated by the Romans as an article of food, and still capable of usefulness in this capacity for the invalid.
Pliny said, "No kind of fodder is more wholesome and light of digestion than the white Lupine when eaten dry."
If taken commonly at meals it will contribute a fresh colour and a cheerful countenance. When thus formerly used neither trouble nor expense was needed in sowing the seed, since it had merely to be scattered over the ground without ploughing or digging.
But Virgil designated it tristis Lupinus, "the sad Lupine," probably because when the pulse of this plant was eaten without being first cooked in any way so as to modify its bitter taste, it had a tendency to contract the muscles of the face, and to give a sorrowful appearance to the countenance. It was said the Lupine was cursed by the Virgin Mary, because when she fled with the child Christ from the assassins of Herod, plants of this species by the noise they made attracted the attention of the soldiers.
The Lupine was originally named from lupus, a wolf, because of its voracious nature. The seeds were used as pieces of money by Roman actors in their plays and comedies, whence came the saying, "nummus lupinus," "a spurious bit of money."