Wednesday, 9 October 2013

There are three basic species of blue poppy. M. betonicifolia  (now split by some authorities into two - with this species being reserved for plants  found in Yunnan and M. baileyi resurrected for the form from S.E. Tibet). Then there is M. grandis which occurs in several quite distinct regions of the Himalayas and these forms differ consistently. Finally there is M. simplicifolia. and this occurs in two forms, the best of which with beautiful flowers is monocarpic and thus dies after flowering and the other form can be perennial. Both types almost always have flowering stems growing from a rosette with no stem leaves. Many years ago a cross between M. grandis and M. betonicifolia - which is sterile - produced a tetraploid form ( i.e. 2 sets of chromosome from each parent) and this is fertile. This image is of this hybrid called Lingholm after a garden in the Lake District of England. It sets masses of fertile seed and has allowed lovely blue poppies to be grown in many parts of the world. There are dozens of named forms of blue poppies which have differences - some very subtle - BUT for someone who wants lots of big beautiful blue poppies in there garden THIS is the one to get. Most amateur seed exchanges have this large seed and they are relatively easy to grow.