Bryant is responsible for today’s entry; he writes:
I would like to thank Bill Terry of Sechelt, British Columbia, for this image of Meconopsis integrifolia (Bill is the author of Blue Heaven: Encounters with the Blue Poppy). The photograph shows the high elevation form of the species being grown in Bill’s garden [Daniel: …and an excellent garden it is–I had a chance to enjoy it earlier in the year]. Andy Hill, Curator of the David C. Lam Asian Garden, collected the seed for this specimen from a plant at 4,400 meters in Sichuan, China.
Meconopsis integrifolia, or lampshade poppy, is a member of Papaveraceae, which consists of ~40 genera and roughly eight hundred species of herbs, scrambling vines and shrubs. Meconopsis integrifolia is native to western China, Tibet, and Burma, and grows in altitudes ranging from 2,700 meters to 5,100 meters. This species has made a number of interesting adaptations to be able to survive in such extreme altitudes. These same adaptations make Meconopsis integrifolia a very challenging species to cultivate at lower elevations.
One such adaptation is photosynthetic rate. This has evolved to be productive in cold temperatures and harsh lighting conditions. Plants of Meconopsis integrifolia that were studied at 3,200 meters exhibited a maximum photosynthetic rate at around 11:00 am followed by a period of photoinhibition (caused by stomatal limitation) at around midday (see Zhang, S-B et al. 2010. Photosynthetic characteristics of two alpine flowers, Meconopsis integrifolia and Primula sinopurpurea. The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology . 85(4):335-340.). Therefore, at lower altitudes where temperatures are generally warmer and sunlight is less intense, Meconopsis integrifolia can become slighty underproductive. It is recommended that when cultivating Meconopsis integrifolia at lower elevation, to place it in an area that will allow it full sun exposure for a few hours during the early morning or late afternoon.