MECONOPSIS—Poppyivort, Blue Poppy
An interesting group of hardy plants belonging to the Poppy family, Papaveraceae. The name is derived from mekon, a poppy, and opsis, resemblance, and refers to the resemblance of the plants to the true Poppies. These plants are chiefly natives of the Himalayas; one, the Welsh Poppy, occurs naturally in western Europe, including Great Britain. These plants are mostly biennial or short-lived perennials.
Difficult in Most Parts of America. In most parts of America these plants are difficult or impossible to grow; they do not take kindly to hot summers. The group may be cultivated in the Pacific Northwest and in other favored places where comparatively cool, moist summers are the rule. Only one kind, Meconopsis cambrica, seems to give fair results in the vicinity of New York City, although many have been tried.
Raising Plants from Seeds. Seeds of Meconopsis, both biennial and perennial, should be sown in autumn, as soon as ripe, in pots or pans of light, sandy soil with a liberal admixture of wellrotted leaf mold or peat moss. They must be kept in a shaded cold frame or cool greenhouse, and the pots covered with sheets of paper, or with sheets of glass with paper over theMeconopsis It is usually found that the seeds geminate freely and evenly from autumn sowing, but irregularly if sowing is delayed until spring.
The seedlings are pricked off, about 2 in. apart, into flats of soil of the same nature as that in which they were sown; they must be kept shaded in a cold frame until large enough to plant out of doors. The plants thrive best in light, rich soil in which there is plenty of humus, such as well-rotted leaf mold or peat moss. They like, too, a location sheltered from wind and shaded from strong sunshine.
The Best Kinds. Meconopsis betonicifolia, previously named Meconopsis Baileyi, is one of the most splendid of the group. It has undoubtedly received more attention than any other kind, yet, except in the most suitable climates, few American gardeners have had any real success with it. This perennial Blue Poppy, a native of Tibet, Yunnan and Upper Burma, grows 3-5 ft. tall and bears a considerable number of 2-in.-wide, flowers; in the best forms of the plant, these are a rich sky-blue, but sometimes they are a less desirable rosy lavender color.
The Welsh Poppy, Meconopsis cambrica, is an easyto-grow perennial that attains a height of 12-18 in., has bright green fernlike foliage and bears golden yellow or orange-yellow flowers, each 1 1/2 in. in diameter. A double-flowered variety named Meconopsis cambrica flore pleno is cultivated.
Others worth attempting where cool summers make their cultivation possible are : Meconopsis aculeata, a biennial, 18-24 in. tall, flowers sky-blue; Meconopsis grandis, a perennial, 1-2 ft. tall, flowers blue, or blue marked with violet, 4-5 in. in diameter; Meconopsis integrifolia, usually biennial, 2-2 1/2 ft. tall, flowers lemon-yellow or rarely white; Meconopsis napaulensis (Meconopsis Wallichii), a biennial, 4-8 ft, tall, flowers blue, red or purple; Meconopsis paniculata, a biennial, 4-6 ft. tall, flowers yellow; Meconopsis punicea, biennial or perennial, 12-18 in. tall, flowers bright red; Meconopsis quintuplinervia (the Harebell Poppy), a perennial, 12-18 in. tall, flowers soft lavender blue; Meconopsis superba, usually biennial, 2-3 ft. tall, flowers creamy white.