Wednesday, 1 August 2012

News - Summer 2012

This summer I flowered 6 different seed numbers of M. integrifolia which were all collected wild in China.  Not One of them resembled the deep yellow dwarf upward flowering plants illustrated on this website and taken by Harry Jans at the very north of the range of this species.  None had absolutely consistent 3 veined leaves which is a defing character of this species and a major separation from M. pseudointegrifolia.  None of the flowers was such an intense deep yellow and upright and none had no style with a Papaver like stigma.  None however would have passed as M. pseuodointegrifolia with obvious long styles, pendulous deep flowers of a cream yellow. Clearly there is a cline right through from a deep yellow northern upright plant to a tall cream yellow southern plant.  The upright deep yellow flowers, dwarf stature and stiff 3 veined leaves may be an adaptation to a dry, windy open habitat.  The problem lies with Carl Linneus.  I have often wondered if he really believed all plants were God created ( almost certainly he did not ) and whether he had any understanding that plants might gradually adapt to changing habitats and climate even if he had no inkling of the genetic mechanisms.  It would be much better to recognise super species above the level of genera.This can be seen in the M. horridula group ( 8 or 9 species and growing ).  The integrifolia group are like this, so too M. grandis perhaps and some of the evergreen monocarpics. Others like the red M. punicea are very distinct though there is variation in growth and flowering of even these that differs between collecting sites.