Thursday, 21 March 2013


This lovely image is of a deep red form of Meconopsis paniculata and was photographed in Arunchal Pradesh by David and Margaret Thorne. The Thornes have a lovely garden south of Edinburgh and have led a whole series of very successful expeditions to different parts of the Himalayas for the last few years. Their journeys have delivered a great deal of information about the occurrence and distribution of plants which is of major conservation value and particularly for Meconopsis. Meconopsis paniculata was described by George Taylor who wrote the first definitive monograph on this genera in 1934 and he claimed it unmistakeable because of the substellate pubescence on the hairs of the leaves. While these hairs are not visible on this image I think modern taxonomists are not quite sure what he meant by this and even with a powerful microscope it is not clear. The web master finds it interesting that normally this species is yellow and not this superb deep scarlet red. The genetics of red and yellow in the same species is not straight forward. Would a cross pollination between them produce an intermediate colour? Perhaps yellow is dominant to red but certain conditions of soil or climate favour different colours in different locations.