Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Meconopsis lyrata (Prain) Prain in Bull. Misc. Inf. Kew 1915: 142. 1915. Cathcartia lyrata Prain in J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 64(2): 325. 1896. M. polygonoides Prain, L.c. 326. 1896. M. compta Prain in Bull. Misc. Inf. Kew 1918: 212. 1918.

Herbs, monocarpic, with stout swollen up to 6.5 cm long napiform often elongated taproots; stems 5 - 30 cm high, slender, leafy, simple or often branched at base, clothed with persistent glabrous membranous leafy sheaths at base, glabrous or sparsely bristly with golden-brown hairs. Leaves ovate, oblong, spathulate or oblanceolate with a hastate or subcordate rounded base, acute or rounded at apex, entire or lyrate-pinnatifid along margins; basal leaves on 5 - 50 mm long petioles, often with bulbils in their axils, soon withering, usually pinnatifid or partite; lateral lobes 2 - 4, elliptic, smaller than terminal lobe; stem leaves 2 - 5, distant, uppermost sessile. Flowers up to 5, terminal and in axils of upper leaves on slender curved 3 - 8 cm long pedicels. Sepals oblong-obovate, 8 - 10 mm long. Petals 4 (-6), obovate-suborbicular, 7 - 20 x 10 - 20 mm, pale pink, blue or white. Stamens 12 - 36; filaments filiform 4 - 5 mm long; anthers ca 2 mm long, golden yellow. Ovary narrowly oblong or oblong-ellipsoid, glabrous; styles 2 - 4 mm long; stigmas 2 - 4-lobed. Capsules narrowly oblong or obovoid, glabrous, dehiscing by 3 - 4 valves, ca 2.5 cm long (incl. beak); seeds falcate-ellipsoid, pitted.

Fl. & Fr. July - Oct.

Distrib. India: Eastern Himalayas, on rocky alpine slopes and cliffs, 2800 - 4500 m. West Bengal and Sikkim.

Nepal and China.

Notes. Very variable in leaf and petal shapes and number of stamens. Based on these variable characters Prain recognised M. polygonoides Prain (in J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 64, 2: 326. 1896) and M. compta Prain (in Bull, Misc. Inf. Kew 1918: 212. 1918), which cannot be maintained as distinct from M. lyrata.

The presence of bulbils in leaf axils is characteristic of this species, a character also reported by Taylor & Cox (l.c.) in M. chelidonifolia.

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