Meconopsis latifolia

Meconopsis latifolia (Prain) Prain, Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1915: 146 1915. (syn: Meconopsis sinuata var. latifolia Prain);

Jammu & Kashmir (Kashmir) as per Catalogue of Life;


Monocarpic erect, herbs, with yellow fluid, about 30-100 cm tall. Stem simple, stout, grooved, covered with spreading or deflexed pale yellowish brown or golden brown bristles throughout, about 2-8 mm long. Tap roots stout elongated. Leaves, variable, ovate-lanceolate, oblong to broadly lanceolate, about 5-25 x 2-6 cm across, base decurrent, margin ciliate, sinuate lobed, deeply serrately incised rarely pinnatilobed, apex obtuse, bristle hairs on both sides, above and beneath, petiole widened at the base, bristly, about 2-8 cm long, upper cauline leaves smaller, segments ovate-lanceolate, margin ciliate, lobed or incised, apex subacute, petiole sessile. Inflorescence, leafy racemes with about 10-25 flowers, bracteate but uppermost flowers usually ebracteate. Flowers bisexual, axillary or terminal, about 4-6 cm across, pale blue to white, actinomorphic, showing bilateral symmetry, pedicels slender, bristly, about 1-4 cm long, Sepals 2, broadly oblong, bristly, about 1-1.5 cm long, petals 4, suborbicular, obovate, apex rounded or obtuse, pale blue, white, margin entire, about 2-3 x 2-3 cm across. Stamens numerous, filaments filiform, linear, with showy colors, about 8-10 mm long, anthers golden yellow, basifixed, about 1-1.5 mm long. Ovary obovoid-ovoid or subglobose, unilocular, densely bristly, style slender, about 1.5-3 mm long, distinct or conspicuous, stigmas capitate, oblong. Fruits capsules, ellipsoid-obovoid, about 10-15 mm long, dehiscing by 4-7 interplacental valves in upper apex part, rarely at the base. Seeds many, plano-convex or subreniform.
Rocky places and among boulders of Alpine Western Himalayas, altitude about 2200-4600 m.
India: Jammu & Kashmir, Pakistan 
(Attributions- Ganeshaiah, K. N., UAS, Bangalore, India.; Kailash, B. R., ATREE, Bangalore, India.; Royal Norwegian Embassy grants. Indian Bioresource Information Network (IBIN), Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India from India Biodiversity Portal)              




 https://08511630493324166816.googlegroups.com/attach/762d5f51af731/2.%20Meconopsis%20latifolia%20beside%20a%20%20glacial%20lake%20in%20Kashmir%20(Oleg%20Polunin).jpg?part=0.2&view=1&vt=ANaJVrGGXuPldKqPxfWxbNgp4DXyGP0mkmQEja3Ztoy0BEKPWEHbxO1g4stPRuWIB9S3SVcklQqUcLJPjbbU1cZk0NUY0T7ktOrYBGDzX1TZoK6MbW5dxlw
https://08511630493324166816.googlegroups.com/attach/762d5f51af731/1.%20Meconopsis%20latifolia%20beside%20a%20%20glacial%20lake%20in%20Kashmir%20(Oleg%20Polunin).jpg?part=0.1&view=1&vt=ANaJVrEyTinMtb1m_wX7cusKWGyXylMtK7Qj2nsA_GK09M_Kcf9DE1rVCdOxLnmIrfKl_HHa7xi_YXkm_MPHDQMDfCzqCNxn9ih38T0gB1p4_q6jwAV6FG4
Fwd: Meconopsis latifolia Prain - new to efi : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (2)
Here with a couple of images, taken by Oleg Polunin, of Meconopsis latifolia

They are far from perfect and were originally taken as slides, probably as far back as the 1970s - though ANTHING is an improvement upon nothing!
The first image is certainly aesthetically pleasing. The second is in quite good close-up but neither show the lower leaves.  What images that are available on the internet (other than of pressed specimens) are mostly taken in cultivation and are unlikely to be pure M.latifolia - which has been confused with other species.
I have seen this species in the wild - it is not, as far as I know, in cultivation.  Once in cultivation, Meconopsis are prone to hybridisation. This species seems to be able to readily cross with not only M.aculeata but other spp.  Those attempting to cultivate it are likely to be growing other Meconopsis (originating in other parts of the Himalaya and SW China) at the same time i.e. only ever in botanical gardens and those of specialist gardeners.
I mentioning "seeing it" but walking past it on AT LEAST 2 occasions, assuming, that it was just a variant of Meconopsis aculeata; the latter species, at certain altitudes and in the right habitat is common, indeed ABUNDANT - to suggest it is in ANY WAY ENDANGERED, is "Farcical".....
M.latifolia was growing amongst boulders near to the main track when I was heading down from the Gangabal Lake area having undertaken a trek from Sonamarg.
Just goes to show how easy it is to MISS species in the wild. Given the similarities with M.aculeata (which is sometimes mistaken for M.horridula - incl. amongst India botanists, as posting on eFI bear testament), I wonder if colonies have been missed.  I am not a field geologist (and was not paying any attention) but wonder if it is restricted to a particular type of rock or associated soil?
I was shown a specimen in an Indian herbarium which was thought to be M.latifolia which was clearly, to me, M.aculeata - it was not an adequate specimen.
Anyhow, whilst this species is certainly not as widespread or common as M.aculeata, NOBODY actually knows it FULL distribution or abundance.  I certainly do not but have a better idea than anyone else!
According to Stewart this is close to M.aculeata but with incised not pinnate leaves and shorter capsules.  He only had records from Northern Kashmir.
It even covered in Kashmir - an indication of LACK OF RARITY.  The authors says endemic to Kashmir but as the region it is known from is close to the border with Pakistan and partly in Pakistan, has been poorly botanized since Partition of India - not that the area was well-known before then.
They say found in rocky slopes @ 3-4000m.
Papaveraceae, Flora of Pakistan (1974) gives a couple of locations. The type specimen at Kew (strange that an image of this is NOT available on the Kew web-site) was collected in the 19th Century by Falconer. The syntype is from a plant cultivated at Kew raised from seed collected by Appleton (also, presumably a long time ago). The line drawing is not of a particularly high standard.
Erroneously, this revision claims that M.aculeata is also Endemic to Kashmir!  Rubbish.
I disagree that this species is CRITICALLY ENDANGERED - which means this is liable to become extinct in the near future.
I suspect it does not even qualify as 'Endangered'.  Nobody really knows, as its FULL distribution is not known.  Given its habitat (which is not under threat, anymore than that of M.aculeata is) and the proximity of most KNOWN populations to the India-Pakistan border, this has reduced grazing and other pressures (though the protection of boulders has always helped in this respect).  ALL plants found in such locations have their own, armed 'WARDENS' (i.e. the Indian Army on the Indian side and presumably Pakistani Army on the Pakistani-side)!  Not that the soldiers are specifically taken any interest in nor knowingly 'protecting' the flora....
I found the vegetation on Aphawat MUCH richer than in the 1980s, thanks to Indian Army personnel (although the actual border, which is disputed of course, is not on the very top) who are liable to ARREST, heavily-armed any foreign or Indian tourists who stray too far from where the Gondola deposits them......



Comments