During spring, many places throughout the island of Crete are adorned with the purple-blue flowers of the wild lupines (Lupinus varius) which is one of the most beautiful and characteristic plants of the entire Mediterranean area. Lupins, known as loubinia in Crete are annual plants with hairy leaves with a shape of a hand palm consisting of 9-11 leaves usually. Their height can be up to 50 cm and it usually dominates the places it grows. You may find them throughout Crete, but they are very common in West Crete, in areas that are not cultivated with tractors. It is very useful because it enriches the soil where it grows and helps poor and infertile soils become more fertile.
The fruit of the plant was very important in the past, as it is edible during fasting. The fruit is not eaten directly, as it is bitter, thus has to be put in seawater for a week. In most villages such as in villages near Spili they put them in a cloth sack which they put in the water of a river for 7-10 days until the bitterness goes away. Then it was ready for consumption and was kept in brine. The seeds of the plant contain alkaloids which, when consumed while being bitter, cause ecstatic feelings and unconsciousness, therefore it was offered to the visitors the Oracle of the Deads at River Acheron in order to communicate with the dead