Thursday, 10 March 2005

Meconopsis superba


M. superba restricted to Chumbi in Tibet and W. Bhutan.  A distinctive monocarpic evergreen plant. The unlobed hairy leaves are a distinctive silver grey and the flowers borne on a tall stem are pure white with a deep purple stigma. M. regia is similar except the leaves are a yellow/green and the flowers yellow with a purple stigma. M superba has a restricted distribution. Has been in cultivation for many years and new wild seed might be valuable since it is self fertile and may now be inbred.


The only species currently known that is self fertile and much seed now available may well come from a self fertilised single plant. Seed germinates readily to standard techniques but seedlings grow more slowly and compactly than species like M. paniculata. They may only be 1/3 the size by autumn of the first year. They can take up to 5 years to flower and need shelter from wind. In wet areas partially covering in winter is probably essential to avoid large losses (but they must not dry right out). The buds when formed in the year they flower can be vulnerable to frost and once the flowering spike is beginning to emerge overnight frost cover would be sensible. Does not normally hybridize with similar species.

Map Location

View Meconopsis superba var 4 in a larger map