Thursday, 17 March 2005

Meconopsis wilsonii - Photos In The Garden

Characteristic foliage of this subspecies (wilsonii) of M. wilsonii. These images were taken in the wonderful gardens of the Cox family at Glendoick, Perthshire. Taylor placed this is M. napaulensis, but then he also placed M. wallichii in the same species. This plant is close to some forms of M. wallichii. Detail of the leaf lobing. Much less divided than M. wallichii. There are two quite different forms of wallichii, three sub species of M. wilsonii (wilsonii, australis and orientalis). The brilliant plant (which is actually in cultivation) found by Prof. David Rankin and others north of Kunming in Yunnan BUT IT IS THE NEWLY NAMED M.Wilsonii orientalis.
Like the others in this group of eastern evergreen monocarpics, they do not flower in the UK until early July. This is just opening the first bud in Perthshire on the 25th June. This plant shows the stigma to be green. This is M.w. wilsonii. Growing in the garden of Prof. and Mrs Rankin south of Edinburgh. These plants were grown from garden seed supplied by Jamie Taggart. He collected this seed from N.E. Yunnan. This has now been named by Professor Rankin as Meconopsis wilsonii ssp orientalis - a new subspecies.
M. wilsonii ssp orientalis A beautiful narrow raceme of lovely flowers with many open at once - clearly a plant of some class. It has already been grown in two Scottish gardens and so may not be unduly difficult. The main risk will be hybridisation - most likely with M. wallichii or other sub species of M. wilsonii and those used for seed collection will need to be grown in isolation. Will probaly be sterile with M. napaulensis hybrids. M.w. orientalis If this is compared to the first 3 images on these pages taken in Peter Cox's garden thenit is clear that one is looking at different subspecies.
There are currently 4 species in this subgroup of blue/white/purple evergreen monocarpics. Two forms (perhaps subspecies) of M. wallichii, one with long flower pedicels and pale blue or white flowers and the other more squat with mauve flowers much closer to this plant illustrated. M. violaceae - not seen for many years from upper Burma and perhaps just into Tibet and the newly described M. wilsonii from China which now has three sub species described. Both the number and shape of the leaf lobing on stem leaves and basal leaves will be critical in identifying this sub species and separating from species like M. wallichii or M violaceae.
Basal leaves important for identification of species and subspecies in this group of 4.