Sunday, 13 February 2005

Meconopsis pratti


( See also M. horridula, racemosa and rudis. ) This has mid-green leaves, often very spiny, and usually a dark royal blue flower but they can be purple and usually occurs at the lowest altitude levels of this group in western China. It flowers on a tall raceme and like all Meconopsis from top down. (Again like M. rudis plants have been described above 4,400 in Yunnan with only basal scapes).
This is very similar to the plant that has been in cultivation for many years. Although this group ( M.horridula, prattii, racemosa and rudis ) is very widespread in the eastern Himalayas and beyond it includes yellow flowered forms. Particularly in western China they do not all occur together necessarily in the same regions; M. horridula for example is Himalayan. It is certain that many intermediates between all the species occur where populations adjoin.


M. prattii. This is the plant grown for the last 50 years or more in Scotland as M. horridula. In good forms it has a strong racemose flowering spike with dark royal blue flowers compactly together. It can also be a spindly plant with less good blue flowers but most will be at least respectable. Grown on well from seed it is biennial with a large over wintering tap root with a bud at the top. As a seedling it is more tolerant of summer heat and as it can flower as a biennial should do well in hotter places – like the south of England or parts of the USA and mainland Europe. The name M. horridula probably did not help but if you can’t grow the big blue poppies in your clime then try this. I am not sure re –naming it M. prattii has done it any favours!! It is easy from seed (sow thinly – the seeds are small and most always germinates- too many seedlings and they damp off). Masses of seed is usually available in the seed exchanges but less so commercially.

Map Location

View Meconopsis World prattii in a larger map