Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Meconopsis punicea is the one species that still grows easily for me here in East Fife Scotland. In the wild in North Sichuan it must be insect pollinated though red is not a typical colour for insect pollination -  many red flowers in the United States are hummingbird pollinated. As can be seen they are a very pendant flowers and for a bee or other insect to find their way up does not seem straight forward. They do however need cross pollinating and in the wild something must do this! Just maybe in natural habitats the flowers open wider but the pendulous nature of the flower does look as though this may be a protection against rain and they probably do flower in the wet season. However they clearly are pollinated in the wild. Here in Scotland I find hand pollination essential or no seed will be set. You need at least two plants both at the same flowering stage. Pollen is not shed until at least the second day the flowers are open. This species needs the seed sowing as soon as it is ripe and then keeping cool and damp until the new year. It does germinate if dried and stored normally but with a lower percentage of the seed succeeding. 

A flower tipped up to expose the stigma surrounded by the anthers. Some of the anthers which were shedding pollen were removed to pollinate another flower and this stigma was dusted with pollen from a second flower.