Commonly known as Prickly Blue-Poppy, and Tibetan Poppy, Meconopsis horridula (Ranunculales - Papaveraceae) is an unusual bristly poppy with gorgeous, floppy, blue, tissue-paper flowers. The epithet “horrid” obviously applies to the spiny looking stems and certainly not to the striking cobalt-blue, ivory-eyed flowers.
This is an alpine species which occurs in the Himalayan region. It has been used as a traditional Tibetan medicine to “clear away heat, relieve pain, and mobilize static blood”. Currently chemical investigations on this species has led to the isolation and structural identification of 40 compounds, including several flavonoids, alkaloids and terpenoids.
Blue Himalayan Poppy by Carrie Cole Via Flickr: The Blue Himalayan Poppies are blooming at Butchart Gardens and thus my subject for the most part of my visit to the gardens today. Here they take on an almost translucent appearance as the soft light filters through the trees and landing on the delicate petals. Shot with Sony A7 and Pentax SMC 50 1.4. Love this old lens.
It hadn’t occurred to me that the flowers I planted were anything other than the blue poppy: I hadn’t looked up foliage characteristics to try and positively identify the hundreds of seedling plants that popped up.
However, I was walking by her garden the other day, and I noticed the most sublime stand of enormous pink poppy flowers.
I studied the blossom and the foliage with new eyes, and sure enough, the neighbour is cultivating Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy. Either she didn’t want me to know, or she was told this was a ‘harmless’ poppy and repeated that to me in good faith.
Upon my return home, I ascertained that the poppies I have planted bear no resemblance in their foliage to Meconopsis.
Long story short: this is how I ended up with a few hundred opium poppies on the cusp of blooming in my yard!
I had such a lovely walk to class this afternoon! Meconopsis 'Lingholm’ backdropped by Tulipa 'Rosalie’. I then waked past some impressive Echium wildpretii which were being planted in the beds. By the way, I think that might be my favorite specific epithet ever, wildpretii. Especially if you pronounce it pretty-eye :)