Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Meconopsis Viguier

Herbs, erect, biennial or perennial, monocarpic or polycarpic, with yellow juice, often woody at base; stems scapose or leafy, usually simple, often branched; indumentum often of barbellate bristles or hairs. Leaves mostly radical, some cauline, entire to bipinnatifid or partite, rarely palmatifid. Flowers solitary, terminal on leafless scapose stems or on pedicels arising all along the central flowering axis forming leafy racemes or in axillary cymules forming leafy panicles. Sepals 2, ovate, elliptic, early caducous. Petals 4, more often 5 - 9 (-10), obovate or suborbicular, variously coloured, showy. Stamens many; filaments filiform, linear, mostly coloured like petals. Ovary sessile, ellipsoid to oblong-ellipsoid, ovoid, obovoid or rarely subglobose, often bristly; style conspicuous, elongate; stigmas 2 - 12, free or united with more or less decurrent lobes. Capsules cylindrical to subglobose or ellipsoid-oblong or obovoid, 4 - 10-valved, usually dehiscing by interplacental subapical pores or long slits at apex only or rarely to the base; seeds many, subreniform or ellipsoid-oblong, smooth or rugose, often papillose.

Himalayas and south-central Asia; ca 47 species, 16 species in India.

Literature. HENDERSON, D.M. (1965) Pollen morphology of Meconopsis. Grana Palynologia 6(2): 191 - 209. TAYLOR, G. & E.H.M. COX (1934) An account of the genus Meconopsis. pp. 1 - 130, tt. 1 - 29.

Notes. Cathcartia Hook. f. treated as an independent genus by Hook. f . & Thomson (in Fl. Brit. India 1: 119. 1872) is included here in this genus.


1a. Ovary and capsule flat-topped, bearing a lobed epigynous disc formed by expanded disc of stylar base 4. Meconopsis discigera
b. Ovary and capsule tapering at apex into a long style without expanded epigynous disc of stylar base 2
2a. Indumentum of prickly rigid bristles 3
b. Indumentum of soft hairs, if present 8
3a. Flowering stems scapose or leafy at base only 4
b. Flowering stems leafy throughout 5
4a. Leaves deeply pinnatifid; style ca 1 cm long 10. Meconopsis neglecta
b. Leaves entire to sinuate-toothed; styles 2 - 5 mm long 6. Meconopsis horridula
5a. Leaves imperfectly 1 - 2 pinnatipartite 1. Meconopsis aculeata
b. Leaves entire or sinuate-lobed 6
6a. Polycarpic herbs; stem leaves ovate-cordate; flowers solitary or in 1 - 7-flowered lax leafless racemes, yellow; ovary glabrous 16. Meconopsis villosa
b. Monocarpic herbs; stem leaves narrowly oblanceolate or oblong-lanceolate or ovate-oblong; flowers in dense leafy racemes, blue, purple, violet or white; ovary bristly 7
7a. Stem leaves oblong to ovate or broadly lanceolate, 2 - 6 cm broad; upper flowers ebracteate; petals pale blue or white; ovary glabrous; capsules 1 - 1.5 cm long (excl. beak) 7. Meconopsis latifolia
b. Stem leaves narrowly oblanceolate or oblong, 1 - 3 cm broad; upper flowers bracteate; petals blue, purple or violet; ovary bristly; capsules 4 - 5 cm long (excl. beak) 14. Meconopsis sinuata
8a. Plants softly golden yellowish villous, mixed with minute stellate hairs throughout; petals yellowish 11. Meconopsis paniculata
b. Plants brownish yellow villous, without stellate hairs; flowers blue, purple, pink, red or white, never yellow 9
9a. Hairs, if present, non-barbellate 10
b. Hairs, if present, barbellate 11
10a. Flowering stems leafy; leaves entire to lyrato-pinnatifid; flowers borne in axils of upper cauline leaves; petals 7 - 20 mm long; capsules oblong 8. Meconopsis lyrata
b. Flowering stems scapose; leaves 2-pinnatifid or partite; flowers borne singly on leafless scapes in axils of basal leaves; petals 20 - 30 mm long; capsules obovoid, pear-shaped 2. Meconopsis bella
11a. Indumentum of long hairs mixed with short much branched hairs 12
b. lndumentum of only long hairs 13
12a. Leaves shallowly serrate; flowers white., petals 4 - 6 cm long; styles 3 - 5 mm long 15. Meconopsis superba
b. Leaves deeply pinnatifid or partite; flowers red purple or blue; petals 2 - 4 cm long; styles 2 - 10 mm long 9. Meconopsis napaulensis
13a. Leaves imperfectly 1 - 2 pinnatifid or partite; plants of Western Himalayas 12. Meconopsis robusta
b. Leaves entire to sinuate-dentate; plants of Eastern Himalayas 14
14a. Flowers on leafless scapes; petals (2-) 3 - 5 cm long 13. Meconopsis simplicifolia
b. Flowers on leafy stems; petals (4-) 5 - 9 cm long 15
15a. Stems 1 -1.5 m long; lower cauline leaves truncate or cordate at base 3. Meconopsis betonicifolia
b. Stems 0.5 - 1 m long; lower cauline leaves cuneate or attenuate at base 5. Meconopsis grandis

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