Tuesday, 15 March 2005

Meconopsis violacea

Photographer : David Rankin


An evergreen monocarpic related to M. napaulensis or perhaps more appropriately M wallichii with golden hairs. It is distinguished from the rest of the group by the very regular lobing to the leaf throughout the length. It has violet flowers on a tall flowering scape and violet filaments with bright orange stamens. It comes from Northern Burma in a region that may be currently inaccessible but it was described as being sparing over the border in S.E. Tibet. New pictures recently taken in NE Yunnan on the Wu Meng Shan were at first thought to be this species but it has become clear that a new sub species of Meconopsis wilsoni is involved.

March 2010. The latest diagnosis of this set of plants is not M. violaceae (though that is clearly closely related) but another subspecies of M. wilsoni. The suggested name is M. wilsoni spp orientalis and this is being formally published I will leave this images here but cross reference it to the M. wilsonii page.

Note the image to the left is Meconopsis wilsonii orientalis but I shall leave it there to remind us how nice it would be to have the very similar M.violaceae in cultivation again.


This was commonly cultivated before the second world war from a Kingdom-Ward introduction in 1926. It was clearly relatively easy to cultivate and a very desirable plant both in it's neatness and flower colour. Probably flowered mainly in its third year and apparently over-wintered well. It produced a spontaneous hybrid with M. betonicifolia at Glendoick in what it now Tayside, East Scotland that was perennial and named M.x Coxiana after the great Rhododendron enthusiast and proprietor of Glendoick - Euan Cox. It has not been in cultivation for many years, perhaps because it hybridised with other evergreen monocarpics. If seed is obtained it would need standard growing like M. napaulensis (Hort) but if we are to keep any of these closely related monocarpics true, an altruistic soul will have to grow them in isolation and in a small garden that may mean excluding these other species. If by a miracle seed can be obtained it will need growing in strict isolation from any other monocarpic species or it will rapidly be lost again. From the altitude that these plants were found they would probably be as easy to grow as most monocarpic evergreen Mecs (though maybe at least cover some with a glass pane in winter). With a compact highly floriferous flowering spike they are clearly highly desirable if ever Chinese or Burmese seed becomes available.

Map Location

View Meconopsis World violacea in a larger map