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Lupinus mutabilis


This legume crop grows best in cool highlands and plateaus. Tarwi seeds have been found in tombs of the pre-Incan era of the central Andean region of South America. A mass of foliage is produced with brilliant purplish blue blossoms; the plant grows to a height of 1 meter.


Tarwi seeds should be soaked in water for several days to remove bitter alkaloids. They are a source of high protein and oil for human consumption as well as livestock. As a legume it is important as a nitrgen-fixing crop for poor soils (as much as 400 kg. of nitrogen per hectare) and as a green manure crop.


  •  Elevation: 0-3800 m (0-12,500 ft)
  •  Rainfall: as little as 500 mm (20 in) or as much as 1,000 mm (40 in) but it will not produce a good crop of seed under high humidity or if drought occurs during flowering and pod set.
  •  Temperature: 6o - 30o C (42- 86F); Mature plants will tolerate frost.
  •  Soil: It will produce a crop in poor soil but the best yields are from well-drained, sandy soil.

La cosecha y producción de semillas

The seeds may be harvested from 150 to 360 days after sowing depending upon the length of warm days. Pollination is by insects attracted by the honey-smelling nectar. At optimal temperatures, up to 130 pods per plant containing 2-6 seeds may be harvested. In wild species, spontaneous splitting open and scattering of seeds disperses seed but this species is particularly good for maintaining a closed pod until after harvest. Tarwi plants blossom and produce seed continuously making it a constant source of food for a small grower who harvests by hand. The seed coat is soft, so germination is rapid.

Plagas y Enfermedades

It is known that varieties exist that resist alternaria fungus, mildews and rust.

Cocina y Nutrición

After soaking or cooking, Tarwi seeds are one of the richest sources of good quality protein in the pea family. Seeds contain up to 40% protein and 20% light-colored oil. When ground into flour, the resultant product can be made into protein rich bread.


Nombres comunes

  • Inglés
    • Tarwi
    • Andean Lupin
    • Pearl Lupin
    • Tarhui