Thursday, 28 March 2013


This is a wonderful white form of M. horridula sent to me by Margaret Thorne. It was photograped at the Bomdi La in Arunchal Pradesh. All the plants seen were of this lovely clear white. Taylor lumped together a huge range of monocarpic deciduous plants  with long, narrow and often very spiny leaves from all over the Himalayas and China as M.horridula. Chris Grey-Wilson has recently split them up into at least nine, with new plants being described by Toshio Yoshida. M. horridula has been reserved for the very high altitude plant (above 5,000 m.). Plants from this part of the Himalayas have also been decribed as M. racemosa at lower altitudes (see the different species descriptions on the main website). What we have is a super species (very much like M. integrifolia) where there is huge variation according to height and location. The dust may settle when Chris Grey-Wilson publishes his new monograph next year.
However with huge variation they are always going to be difficulties and for non taxonomists calling them all M. horridula makes a lot of sense. The only one that is readily in cultivation is currently called M. prattii, This is probably the easiest species of all to grow in the U.K.