Sunday, 13 March 2005

Meconopsis torquata - Photos In The Wild

Tibetan uplands near Llasa. This species is monocarpic but probably takes a minimum of three or fours years to flower in this rather bleak and hostile environment. A plant familiar to both Ludlow and Sherriff during their time in Llasa during the second world war. Has been flowered by General Murray-Lyon but would be very difficult.The flowers are blue and the plant is quite closely related to M. discigera. Margaret Thorne. M. torquata is one of five species in a separate sub- genera Discogyne. They are all easily distinguished when in fruit by a disc between the ovary and the style and stigma. A unique feature of this species is spines on the backs of the petals which can be seen in this close-up of a seed pod. (The brown is the dead blue petal and the remains of the spines can still be seen) This species also differs from the other 4 in the sub genus by having almost no style with the stigma immediately above the disc. The disc can be seen above the spiny seed pod and the ridged brown 'bump' above is the styleless stigma. A really valuable image from Margaret Thorne.