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Valentine.gr  

September 2010

Did you know that Meconopsis grandis, a species of†Himalayan blue poppy, is the national flower of Bhutan?

Meconopsis - Blue Poppy ( Meconopsis betonicifolia - Meconopsis baileyi)

Blue Poppy - Meconopsis spp.

Meconopsis is a relatively large genus of flowering plants in the family Papaveraceae. and contains 49 species, and most of them were identified by Chinese. The genus Meconopsis does not have a satisfactory common English name,and the one most used is Himalayan blue poppies. This reflects to a large degree where they come from, and also the color of the flowers of many of the species and hybrids. 

The species have attractive flowers and have two distinct ranges. A single species, Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh poppy), is indigenous to England, Wales, Ireland, and the fringes of Western Europe. The other 40 or so (depending on classification) species are found in the Himalayas. Within the Himalayan types there is much debate as to what constitutes a particular species as many readily hybridise with each other and produce viable seed. It is likely that some individually-named species are in fact a single species but with an under-appreciated morphological diversity.

The name meconopsis derived from the Greek mekon 'poppy' + opsis 'like and means "poppy-like". (The word papaver is Latin and was the name given to the poppy in ancient Rome. It is thought to represent the sound of poppy seeds being chewed!). 

A large proportion of species are monocarpic and as such are notoriously difficult to maintain in cultivation.

However, arguably the most popular of the Meconopsis grown in gardens have blue flowers, but other colors are also well represented, e.g., the striking red of M. puniceaand a number of species such as M. pseudointegrifolia are yellow. The one exception to an Asian distribution of Meconopsis is the Welsh poppy, M. cambrica. It is native to restricted parts of Britain and Western Europe. This outlying species does not truly fit within the genus Meconopsis, and it is likely that this will be attended to by the botanists, with a name change.

The Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica)  is a perennial plant of the family Papaveraceae. Its habitat is damp, shady places on rocky ground, and it is native to south-western England, Wales, Ireland and Western Europe. In its most western locations, it is increasingly found on more open ground with less cover.

It has pinnately divided leaves. The flower is distinctively yellow or orange with four petals, and hairy green sepals that fall off quickly after the flower opens. It spreads easily from the numerous small black seeds produced in the summer. It is especially well adapted to colonising gaps and crevices in rocks and stones. This habit has enabled it to colonise the urban environment, growing between paving slabs and at the edges of walls.

It was originally classified as Papaver cambricum and may be referred to as such in older texts. It is the only member of the Meconopsis (Papaveraceae with yellow latex) genus native to Europe.

Meconopsis betonicifolia, also known as Meconopsis baileyi and the Himalayan blue poppy, was first noted in 1886 by Pere Delavay a French Catholic missionary. In the late spring of 1922, a British Himalayan expedition, led by legendary mountaineer George Leigh Mallory, discovered the plant on their failed attempt to reach the summit of the then-unconquered Mount Everest. The specimen was collected by Lt. Col. Frederick Marshman Bailey. Pressed into a notebook, the quality of the specimen was not excellent but it still created great interest in England.The flowers were introduced to much excitement at the Royal Horticultural Society's spring show of 1926. In 1924, Frank Kingdon-WardFrank Kingdon-Ward, the explorer and plant collector, brought back the first viable seed and, in 1927, it was displayed at horticultural shows and there were large plantings in public parks in London and Edinburgh. However, since they are difficult to grow, the species has become fabled over the decades. 

In 2009, horticulturalist and author Bill Terry published his "gardening memoir", Blue Heaven, about the plant.

In June 2007, Hale Books published the novel "Dreams of the Blue Poppy" by English author Angela Locke. The book's central theme concerns a sickly child who dreams of finding the fabled plant and ends up on a journey of both personal and botanical discovery to the Indian Himalaya

Meconopsis grandis, another  species of  Himalayan blue poppy, is the national flower of Bhutan.

Himalayan varieties have the reputation for being difficult to grow from seed, but when germinating new plants, using fresh seeds will help. On the other hand, the Welsh poppy is sometimes considered a weed, albeit a handsome one, due to its vigorous self-seeding. It comes as a surprise to many that poppies are available in shades of blue. These plants are available in a variety of strong colours, including blue, red, orange, purple, white and yellow depending on species and cultivar.

The genus Meconopsis contains typical high-altitude medicinal plants throughout the Himalayan region. Many species of this genus have been used in traditional Tibetan medicine by local citizens. Extensive phytochemical investigations have led to the isolation of 96 compounds including alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides,essential oils, etc. As cognate plants, the genus Meconopsis contains similar alkaloids as the genus Papaver. But the genus Meconopsis showed more antitumor activity, central action, cardiovascular system activity, etc. So far, no analgesic, anesthetic actions, and physical dependence have been found for genus Meconopsis, or these effects have not been focused on, but they need further study, and the use of the plants from genus Meconopsis should be more prudent.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meconopsis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_poppy
http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Meconopsis_betonicifolia
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cbdv.200900210/pdf

 

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Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
Flowering rush - Butomus umbellatus
Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Manís Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
Red hot poker - Kniphofia - Tritoma
Sikkim rhubarb - Rheum nobile
Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
Belamcanda chinensis - Leopard lily
Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
Goji - Wolfberry - Lycium barbarum
Vanilla - Vanilla Planifolia
Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
Pachypodium
Physalis
Ceropegia
Sturt pea - Swainsona formosa
Clematis
Grevillea
Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
Trochetia
Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
Angel's Trumpets - Brugmansia
Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
Sedum
Hydnora - Hydnora africana
Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
Argan - Argania spinosa
Astilbe - False Goats Beard
Feijoa - Pineapple Guava - Acca sellowiana
Aquilegia - Columbine
Cassiope
Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
Portulaca
Lobelia
Field Poppy - Papaver Rhoeas
Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
Muscari - Grape Hyacinth
Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
Zinnia
Honeysuckle - Lonicera
Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
Olive - Olea europaea
Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
Desert rose - Adenium obesum
Oleander - Nerium Oleander
Abutilon
Sweet Pea - Lathyrus odoratus
Chaenomeles - Flowering Quince
Forsythia
Amaryllis - Hippeastrum
Butchers broom - Ruscus aculeatus
Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Gloriosa
Bamboo
Gladiolus
Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
Rafflesia arnoldi

 

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