© 2004-2009 The Meconopsis Group

The Meconopsis Group


Meconopsis Subgenus - Discogyne

Five species, MM. discigera, tibetica, torquata, simikotensis and pinnatifolia, are placed in a separate sub-genus Discogyne (see George Taylor's Classification of the Species).They are distinguished from all other species by possessing a flat disc on top of the ovary (see arrows in 3 and 4). Similar-looking structures also occur in the true poppies, Papaver (see arrows in 1 and 2). But these structures, although superficially similar, are fundamentally different in the two taxa. In Papaver, the style is absent and the disc is formed by an expansion of the stigma over the top of the ovary. In the Discogyne Meconopsis, the style is present and it is the expansion of the base of the style that forms the disc.

1 & 2. Papaver somniferum flower and fruit capsule
The arrow to the flower, points to the expanded stigma that spreads out over the top of the ovary to form a stigmatic disc - a style is absent in Papaver.
The arrow to the fruit capsule, points to the stigmatic disc.

3. Left: Fruit capsule of M. discigera. The arrow points to the expanded base of the style which forms the stylar disc on top of the ovary. The distal part of the style and the stigma are above the stylar disc.

4. Fruit capsule of M. tibetica.
The arrow points to the stylar disc, with the ovary (developing capsule) to the left and the distal part of the style protruding to the right, with the stigma at its apex.

These five species have all recently been fully reviewed by Chris Grey-Wilson in an article (reference below) in which he describes them and names two new species, M. tibetica and M. simikotensis. They are all monocarpic. Plants form a rosette of leaves which build up over a few years to reach flowering size.They are moderately tall, producing a raceme of flowers around half a metre in height.

The distributions of the five species range over west to east Nepal, north and central Bhutan and south to south central Tibet. All of them, except M. tibetica, are native to high, bleak and inimical rocky habitats, often on moraines and beside glaciers. M. simikotensis, found in the far west of Nepal, is an outlier as the greatest concentration of the other species in the subgenus Discogyne are to be found from East Nepal to Bhutan and south Tibet.. (Map)

Full details of all these species can be found in Chris Grey-Wilson's article in The Alpine Gardener Vol. 74, (2006), pp. 212-225 entitled "A new Meconopsis from Tibet".

5. Young leaf rosette of
M. discigera