Photographer : James Cobb - 7/8ths Hybrid
Most hybrids have occured either spontaneously or deliberately in cultivation. They have occured even between seemingly unlikely species. Chromosome counts, where they have been done, shed some light on this. The 2n diploid number is 56 for a number of the evergreen monocarpic species like M. paniculata as well as the M. horridula type deciduous monocarpics. M. integrifolia at 74 is an anomaly and needs re-doing on wild plants. M.betonicifolia, M simpilcifolia are 82 or 84 as is M quintuplinervia and the hybrid with M. punicea called M. x Cookei. M. grandis was approximately 118 and the hybrid 'Lingholm' about 200. What was Meconopsis cambrica is 28. M.cambrica is no longer considered to be really related closely to the Himalayan species and is in a different genera (M. pseudomeconopsis is proposed) However strictly M. cambica has precedence and all the other Himalayan species should go in a new genera. A solution is that taxonomists find the courage to break their own rules and formally put M. cambrica into a new genus!
Hybrids have been recorded between M. integrifolia and M. quintuplinervia = M.x Finlayorum. M. x Cookei = M. punicea x M. quintuplinervia. M.x Coxiana = M. betonicifolia x M. violacea. M. x Decora = M. napaulensis x M. latifolia (seems unlikely geographically). M. grandis x M. latifolia - again rather unlikely and not named. M. x Hybrida = M. grandis x M. simplicifolia (also called recently M. x Simplygrand) M. x Houndwood - reputedly M. quintuplinervia x M. betonicifolia. Kingsbarns hybrid - really a tetraploid fertile M. X Sheldonii. Lingholm a very widespread fertile tetraploid M. x Sheldonii. Marit - a creamy white seedling of Lingholm but is sterile and probably a backcross to M. integrifolia. Miss Dickson - a creamy white sterile M. grandis like plant. M. x Musgravei = M. betonicifolia x M. superba. M. Ramsdeniorum = M. dhwojii x M. napaulensis. M. x Beamishii and M. x Sarsonsii - hybrids between M. integrifolia and M. grandis and M. betonicifolia are illustrated elsewhere on the site. M. delavayi has been crossed with M. quintuplinervia.
There is a great deal of detailed information on hybrids - particularly the large blue cultivars of this genus on the Meconopsis Group Website.
Most of these need cultivating in the same way as the parents. Many are not terribly valuable BUT a major reason for making crosses is that the progeny, though often sterile, can be reliably perennial. Until the advent of the fertile hybrid Lingholm (which seems to be a tetraploid M.x Shedonii) many big blue poppies, which have so enhanced many Scottish Gardens were the basic M. betonicifolia x M. grandis cross which was named x. Sheldonii but which are sterile because the chromosomes do not match. The spontaneous tetraploid x Shedonii ( Lingholm ) has become fertile because it now has 2 sets of each chromosome. Leslie Drummond of Forfar in Tayside has recently remade many of these crosses. As many unlikely crosses do take it can be very entertaining and often with a single plant of a species a way of at least getting some seed since most Meconopsis are not self fertile. However for many of the monocarpic plants - particularly the evergreen plants- hybridisation is the almost inevitable consequence of growing more than one species. If some species are to be maintained in cultivation then they will need to be grown in isolation.