Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Another image from Jeanie Jones taken in N.E.India. This was sent to me as a yellow form of Meconopsis prainiana - not described before. This species was lumped by Sir George Taylor into M. horridula. My view on this plant is that it is part of a super species best called M. horridula and I really cannot see why it is that different from M . racemosa or even M. prattii. I confess the concept of a super species is my own but it helps with identifying very similar species as a group. WHAT FOLLOWS IS COMPLICATED SO ONLY READ ON IF REALLY ADDICTED TO MECONOPSIS!

There are at least 9 named variations on the 'horrid' poppy separated off into new species, but I think many of them merge into each other and I strongly suspect there are more variations yet to be described from remoter areas in China. 

What does intrigue me about this plant is the yellow colour. Taylor described a yellow Meconopsis horridula from the Himalayas. There are a number of artficially created Meconopsis with this pale yellow when the lemon yellow species M. integrifolia was crossed with blue species M. betonicifolia to give M. x sarsonsii, M. x beamishii when crossed with M. grandis (there is a suggestion that this has been found in the wild), M. x finlayorum with M. quintuplinervia. Kingdom Ward's Ivory poppy was also found in the wild and has been described as a cross between M. simplicifolia and M. integrifolia. This was raised in the garden first as M. x harleyana  by Andrew Harley at Devonhall  and was called the Ivory Poppy. It was also described as M. simplicifolia eburnea. It was later found in the wild by Kingdom Ward and since (see M. x harleyana on the main website. Many of the forms of M. integrifolia south of where this deep yellow upright species is found are  now split into a very variable species called M. pseudointegrifolia which also tend to be cream coloured rather than a clear yellow. Both these species now have sub-species described. 

I should love to see a genetic study on these normally blue species that have yellow forms  to see if in the distant past they naturally hybridized with an M. integrifolia like ancestor to produce these cream yellow plants.