A close encounter – Blue poppies!

Alas not in the Himalayas, but fortunate to see them ‘in the flesh’ at Lost Horizons. Like from another planet, these fabled blue poppies are actually not true poppies. In the Fam. Papaveraceae, they belong to the genus Meconopsis, derived from the Greek mecon (poppy) and opsis (like): poppy-like.

Meconopsis grandis – the Blue Poppy, the national flower of Bhutan, was discovered in 1922 during a British Himalayan expedition to Everest.

Meconopsis grandis

Meconopsis betonicifolia (or Meconopsis bailey) – The Tibetan Blue Poppy, was discovered in 1913 in the gorges of Tsangpo River in Tibet by a British army officer, Major Frederick M. Bailey. Both were introduced in 1926 at the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual show, causing a blue-poppy- philia (corrected – thanks Jo Ann) that lasts through this day.

(click on any image to open the gallery)

2 replies
  1. Jo Ann Turner
    Jo Ann Turner says:

    Like many others I am also besotted with the other-worldly blue of the Meconopsis…I grow M. bailleyi and M. lingholm, (from seed of a great Meconopsis grower, Bill Terry).which began blooming about ten days ago with a true Maxfield Parrish sky blue. Stunning…

    Juat a minor point – I suspect what you meant was Meconopsis ‘philia’ rather than ‘phobia’. Unless you meant the fear one experiences in the presence of overwhelming love…Either way, just a very minor point.

    I only recently came upon your amazing and full of wonders blog. Many thanks for sharing your botanical musings and exquisite plant images.

    You may already be familiar with his book, but if not, Bill Terry wrote a very informative and delightful book on Meconopsis about three years ago, called ‘Blue Heaven’. It is available on Amazon.ca, and is worth reading for anyone with more than a passing interest in the genre. He has some very detailed cultural information, as well as accounts of his encounters with the poppy and those who grow it, around the world.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Thanks. You are right – I meant ‘philia’; I am sure that no one is afraid of the blue poppies!
      I didn’t know about the ‘Blue Heaven’, thanks again for the info, I’ll buy it first thing tomorrow. Not too many
      reliable cultural info available regarding the blue poppies, I cannot wait to read it!

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