Russell Lupin

Common name:  Russell Lupin
Scientific name:  Lupinus polyphyllus
Management programme:  Sustained control

Why is it a pest?

Wild Russell lupin are Russell lupins that are established by natural means. Russell lupins rapidly invade rocky braided river systems and the thick, bushes provide hiding places for predators of birds that are often endangered and would usually nest safely on these bare islands. The thick infestations also get in the way of water flow along these rivers, changing the ecosystem for the birds and aquatic species that rely on this habitat.

It causes sand and gravel to build up, changing the shape of rivers and contributing to flooding and erosion. Disturbed lowland and sub-alpine shrubland, short tussock-land and wetlands are vulnerable to this plant.

What does it look like?

Russell lupin is a quick growing herb that can grow up to 1m tall, with multiple erect, hairy stems with clusters of leaflets that are usually hairless above and silky below. It produces a flowerhead spike that stands up straight, with many slightly scented and multiple-coloured flowers from September to February. Russell lupin produces a large number of seeds with dark brown spots of colour that are spread mainly by water and also by humans scattering them along roadsides. The seeds can last for many years.

What are the rules?

Over the life of the pest plan (10 years) the goal is to sustainably control the extent of Russell lupin within certain distances from waterways and property boundaries.

  • On rural-zoned land in Otago no Russell lupin is allowed to be planted within:
    • 200m (at the time of planting) of the outer gravel margin of a braided river or if there is no outer gravel margin, 200m from the edge of the active channel
    • 50m from any non-braided river
    • 10m from any artificial watercourse
    • 10m from an adjoining property boundary
  • Everyone on rural-zoned land must also eliminate all wild Russell lupin in the above boundaries.

How can I control it?

You can hand pull or dig out small plants all year round and leave on site to rot. You can also cut the plant to the stump and apply herbicide or spray.

Management programme