M. rudis is found on lower screes and is a very different plant from M.horridula or M. racemosa with large glaucous grey green leaves and diagnostically marked purple pigment spots at the base of each of the many leaf spines. Most flowers are on a central raceme but some basal flowers may occur as well. It can be a substantial plant 40 to 50 cms tall (Plants above 4,400 metres in Yunnan have been described with only basal scapes). The flower colour can be a poor muddy purple and they rarely show the exquisite colour of M. horridula or racemosa. The anthers are grey or dirty white (but described as yellow by Grey-Wilson in Sichuan and on the Gang Ho Ba in Yunnan).
Clearly the purple pigment is not a reliable character, although in its extreme form this species is very different from all the others in the M. horridula super species. A complication is that many of the other species in this group do show leaves with purple pigment and certainly at one site I examined in Yunnan the M. rudis was on the higher screes and M.prattii in grassy areas lower down but with huge numbers of apparent hybrids in between.
M. rudis. Has been in cultivation since China was opened up in the late 1980s. It is an easy plant to grow and, when grown on well, will probably flower as a biennial. In the wild, this and M. prattii would appear to take several years to flower. At the end of the summer, the dormant white carrot like root can be the size of a little finger. (seed from seed exchanges as M. horridula may be this or M. prattii).
View Meconopsis World rudis in a larger map