Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Meconopsis paniculata Prain in J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 64(2): 316. 1896. M. nipalensis sensu Hook. f. & Thomson in Fl. Brit. India 1: 118. 1872 (non DC. 1824).

Herbs, monocarpic, with stout elongated taproots, often split into several rootlets; stems up to 2.5 m long, leafy, stout, fistular, sparsely or densely clothed with patent or deflexed golden yellow soft hairs, mixed with minute stellate hairs throughout. Leaves linear-oblong in outline, often entire or deeply pinnatifid, or sometimes pinnatisect near base, 30 - 60 x 8 - 20 cm; lobes ovate or oblong, acute or obtuse, coarsely crenate or serrate; basal leaves in rosette, larger, petiolate; stem leaves smaller, becoming sessile; petioles 15 - 25 cm long. Flowering stems solitary, shortly branched; flowers numerous, pendulous, borne singly in upper part and in 2 - 6-flowered lateral cymes in lower part; pedicels 2 - 15 cm long, pendulous, hairy as on stem. Sepals ovate-oblong, obtuse-rounded, golden yellowish hairy. Petals 4 (-5), obovate to suborbicular, entire or subentire, rarely denticulate, 3 - 5 cm long, yellow. Filaments filiform, 7 - 15 mm long; anthers ca 2 mm long. Ovary subglobose, ellipsoid or ovoid, densely covered with appressed golden-yellow hairs; styles 5 - 15 mm long, with capitate 6 - 12-lobed stigmas. Capasules oblong-ellipsoid, 1.5 - 3.5 x 1.2 - 1.5 cm, hairy as on stems, 6 - 10-valved, dehiscing only near apex, borne on elongated up to 15 cm long pedicels; seeds subreniform, ca 1 mm long, minutely papillose.

Fl. & Fr. June - Oct.

Distrib. India: Central and Eastern Himalayas, in grassy and rocky alpine hillsides and temperate forests, between 2200 - 4500 m. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal (Darjeeling), Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Nepal, Bhutan and China (Tibet).

Notes. Giri & Lal (in J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 12: 365 - 366. 1988) report it from Arunachal Pradesh.

Very similar to and was previously confused with M. napaulensis DC., but is easily recognised by their yellow flowers, pinnatifid to pinnatipartite leaves and minute papilose seeds.

The rootstock has sweet taste and is used as salad by sherpas in E. Nepal. The root has narcotic properties (Banerjee in J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 53: 153. 1955-56).

Chromosome no. n = 28 (Ratter in Notes R. Bot. Gard. Edinb. 28: 200. 1967).

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