Sunday, 19 April 2015

Meconopsis punicea. My absolute favorite Meconopsis. Many years ago when I wrote my book on Meconopsis I was rather horrified that the publisher had used  this species as the jacket cover. I felt this was inappropriate for a book on 'BLUE POPPIES.' Just why this wonderful species has red flowers will almost certainly be related to what originally pollinated it. The bottom image here shows the problem since it is not clear how insects would be guided to pollinate it. Red tubular flowers in some parts of the world are pollinated by humming birds and these are often long tubular flowers that the long tongues of humming birds can reach and other insects pollinators cannot. I do have to add that on really hot days M. punicea does open up a little and bees and the like could pollinate it. It is possible that blue  Meconopsis evolved from red ones.

The top image is of a plant in the garden of Carol and Hugh who live just up the road. The buds on this plant are twice the size of any plant of this species I have ever seen. I cannot wait to see it flower! I might add that Carol is very green fingered and she has produced big surpluses of this species which we have been able to give back to various gardens open to the public such as Branklyn in Perth. The main website gives information on growing this plant on from seed.