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Author Topic: Meconopsis in Cultivation  (Read 4778 times)

Margaret Thorne

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Meconopsis in Cultivation
« on: January 02, 2024, 03:45:04 PM »
Happy New Year to everyone who grows Meconopses. December and January are the months in which many growers sow their Meconopsis seed, so now is perhaps an appropriate time to point out just how rare some species and subspecies have become in cultivation. Time is already up for several very beautiful taxa. Introduced into cultivation by intrepid plant-hunters at considerable personal cost, some disappeared very rapidly. Those long gone, at least from the UK, include: M. primulina, M. bhutanica, M. bella, M. pinnatifolia, M. sherriffii and M. taylorii. These photos are all taken in the wild; does anyone have any of the same species in cultivation?


M. primulina, M. bhutanica, M. bella.


 M. pinnatifolia.


 M. sherriffii.


 M. taylorii
« Last Edit: January 02, 2024, 09:53:22 PM by Maggi Young »
Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2024, 03:48:08 PM »
With little opportunity now for new seed introductions, we needed to discover what we had left to take action to secure their future. So, in 2022, I organised a Census on behalf of The Meconopsis Group to establish which species and subspecies (not hybrids or cultivars) were still being grown and with what success. Each taxon was allocated a provisional status on the basis of the results and these have been corroborated by a repeat of the Census in 2023. Those allocated to category ‘E’ – recently lost from cultivation include: M. bijiangensis, M. pseudointegrifolia, M. speciosa subsp. speciosa, M. sulphurea subsp. gracilifolia, M. venusta and M. betonicifolia (the true species not M. baileyi which is sometimes sold under this name).
But maybe some of these are still being grown by people who did not participate in the Census. If you have photos, please post them.
Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

arisaema

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2024, 04:17:02 PM »
M. pseudointegrifolia ... M. betonicifolia (the true species not M. baileyi which is sometimes sold under this name).

I'm surprised both are lost already, in particular M. betonicifolia as it's soundly perennial?

Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2024, 05:15:07 PM »
I'm surprised both are lost already, in particular M. betonicifolia as it's soundly perennial?

Yes, Meconopsis betonicifolia is perennial, but it seems to hybridise readily with M. baileyi which is the most commonly grown species of the genus. The hybrid is called M. x 'Alaska' which is a good plant in cultivation, but it resembles M. baileyi in having a false whorl rather than M. betonicifolia which doesn't. Perhaps the hybrid is easier to grow, so is preferred to the latter parent, seed of which I have never managed to germinate. The photos are all M. x 'Alaska'









« Last Edit: January 02, 2024, 09:51:47 PM by Maggi Young »
Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2024, 05:20:08 PM »
Several more taxa are currently category ‘D’ – endangered, most likely to be lost in the near future. These are M. simplicifolia subsp. simplicifolia, M. wallichii var. fusco-purpurea, M. lancifolia subsp. eximia and M. horridula (the true species not hybrids which are correctly described as M. x setifera).








« Last Edit: January 02, 2024, 09:51:26 PM by Maggi Young »
Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2024, 05:39:10 PM »
The three subspecies of M. wilsonii are all in trouble too, as there were no records received of any plants flowering in 2023, thus no seed was collected and there is very little in storage. As far as we know, only one person has a plant of subspecies wilsonii. The other two subspecies, australis and orientalis are being grown by a few members each. If you have any plants, please take care of them, and if they flower for you in 2024, be sure to collect the seed, consider raising plants and devoting more space to them in your garden. If you have seed in storage, consider sowing and growing them before they lose their viability.
There are photographs of all 3 subspecies of M. wilsonii on the Meconopsis Species Gallery.
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Maggi Young

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2024, 07:19:47 PM »
 Meconopsis Species Gallery:

  https://www.themecgroupadmin.org/gallery.asp
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2024, 07:27:08 PM »
Thanks Maggi
Other species falling within the ‘endangered’ (D) category which nobody who participated in the Census managed to flower or collect seed from in 2023 include: M. integrifolia ‘Balangshan forms’, M. purpurea and M. napaulensis (the true yellow flowered species not the garden hybrids which should be called M. x complexa).
Thanks to David Rankin, Harry Jans, and Richard Green for the first three photos.










« Last Edit: January 03, 2024, 08:01:02 PM by Margaret Thorne »
Broughton Heights, Scottish Borders

ashley

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2024, 09:45:55 AM »
What magnificent plants Margaret, and beautiful photos from the wild 8), most I suppose taken during the monsoon season. 
Thank you for showing them.
Ashley Allshire, Cork, Ireland

Leena

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2024, 05:59:14 PM »
Margaret, thank you for wonderful pictures.  :)

Other species falling within the ‘endangered’ (D) category which nobody who participated in the Census managed to flower or collect seed from in 2023 include: M. integrifolia ‘Balangshan forms’,

In Holubeck seed list last November there was M.integrifolia from Balang Shan, and I hope the seeds germinate in spring (now sown and under snow outside), I hope I can grow it until flowering. There were also some other wild collected Meconopsis, but only M.horridula from your list. I hope other beautiful plants in your pictures will survive in cultivation in the future.
Leena from south of Finland

Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2024, 08:02:43 PM »
What magnificent plants Margaret, and beautiful photos from the wild 8), most I suppose taken during the monsoon season. 
Thank you for showing them.

Thanks, Ashley, yes, they are all taken in the wild (other than ‘Alaska’) and most are Himalayan and photographed by me during the monsoon. This does mean that the flowers are often very damaged by the wet conditions, whereas in cultivation this is much less likely to happen.
The Chinese ones, M. wilsonii, M. purpurea and M. integrifolia are found mainly further east than the extent of the monsoon; M. bijiangensis is just on its eastern edge. These photos are mainly taken by others and are in the Meconopsis Species Gallery (or soon will be) together with details of where they were taken and by whom.
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Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2024, 08:30:07 PM »
Margaret, thank you for wonderful pictures.  :)

In Holubeck seed list last November there was M.integrifolia from Balang Shan, and I hope the seeds germinate in spring (now sown and under snow outside), I hope I can grow it until flowering. There were also some other wild collected Meconopsis, but only M.horridula from your list. I hope other beautiful plants in your pictures will survive in cultivation in the future.
I do hope all your Meconopsis seed germinates for you, Leena, and that you manage to raise each of the species you are growing and flower them successfully. The growing conditions here in the UK have been difficult for the past 2 years and many members who have succeeded to grow Meconopsis in the past are now failing to do so. From the photos you have posted on the forum, I would guess your conditions are more favourable than ours and Martin is still doing well at Tromso, as is Jenny at the Schachen.
All forms of M. integrifolia have been widely grown without difficulty until recently and the Balangshan forms with their wide-open flowers are, in my opinion, the most attractive. On the other hand, M. horridula has a reputation for being impossible to grow!
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Leena

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2024, 06:28:43 PM »
I do hope all your Meconopsis seed germinates for you, Leena, and that you manage to raise each of the species you are growing and flower them successfully. The growing conditions here in the UK have been difficult for the past 2 years and many members who have succeeded to grow Meconopsis in the past are now failing to do so. From the photos you have posted on the forum, I would guess your conditions are more favourable than ours and Martin is still doing well at Tromso, as is Jenny at the Schachen.
All forms of M. integrifolia have been widely grown without difficulty until recently and the Balangshan forms with their wide-open flowers are, in my opinion, the most attractive. On the other hand, M. horridula has a reputation for being impossible to grow!

Thank you Margaret. I hope so too. :) We have now had a very cold weather, -20C for a week and only about 20cm snow, but from past experience Meconopsis have been fine even after cold winters. And of course seeds which have not yet germinated are ok.
Early summers have been very dry here in the past few years, but mostly I think the conditions are ok. In Tromso they are better than here!
I will have to make a new bed to these new seedlings if/when they germinate, and there are also hopefully Meconopsis seeds from this years seed exchange, too. :)

I once had M.integrifolia, but didn't know at the time that they were monocarpic, and didn't collect seeds from it, so unfortunately I don't have that clone anymore. I do have M.integrifolia grown from seeds from a kind forumist two years ago, and I hope the biggest ones  of them will flower next summer. But these wild collected from Balang Shan are special and I try to take good care of them. I sowed also Meconopsis horridula, Meconopsis prattii and Meconopsis punicea from Holubeck. I have tried M.punicea couple of times but never got it to germinate. I hope this time they will germinate. Good to know M.horridula will be difficult, I will have to think carefully where to plant them if they germinate.
Leena from south of Finland

Margaret Thorne

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2024, 04:03:06 PM »

I once had M.integrifolia, but didn't know at the time that they were monocarpic, and didn't collect seeds from it, so unfortunately I don't have that clone anymore. I do have M.integrifolia grown from seeds from a kind forumist two years ago, and I hope the biggest ones  of them will flower next summer. But these wild collected from Balang Shan are special and I try to take good care of them.

The tall yellow flowered species, of which M. integrifolia is one have probably never been adequately subdivided into species and subspecies. When I was sorting out the photos for the Meconopsis Species Gallery, I tried to include at least one from each of the sites from which each taxon had been recorded. It was only when I grouped the photos by site that it became obvious that the ones taken on the Balangshan were completely different from all the rest. Until now they’ve been lumped under the name M. integrifolia subsp. souliei, with the Zheduoshan form from where this subspecies was described.  These have much more globular, less open flowers (photos from plants in cultivation below). I have grown both from the seed exchange as different times and they are distinct and do come true from seed. It is therefore important to check the plants when they are in flower to see that they are correctly labelled with these distinctions maintained, especially when you eventually have enough to donate to a seed exchange or give to friends. Results from The Meconopsis Group’s DNA project may eventually help us devise a more appropriate taxonomy for these plants.




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Maggi Young

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Re: Meconopsis in Cultivation
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2024, 05:23:59 PM »
 Fascinating and useful information, Margaret, thank you!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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