Meconopsis seed packets

Seed Exchange

Please note that participation in the Seed Exchange of The Meconopsis Group is restricted to members only. (For details of membership application see Contact, Membership.)
Seed Exchange Manager: Ian Scott, 6 Hays Road, The Gauldry, Fife, DD6 8SJ, UK
Email: seedexchange@meconopsis.org.

Introduction
Whilst many Meconopsis can be bought from specialist nurseries, growing them from seed is an important alternative for acquiring a range of species, some of which may be commercially unavailable. There is also the advantage of being able to raise a large number of seedlings for a bigger display, or to try plants in various situations in the garden.

In the interest of conservation, The Meconopsis Group seeks to promote the growing of Meconopsis from seed through its Seed Exchange. In this way, those species already in cultivation can be maintained, whilst new introductions can become established and more widely available for study, without the perpetual need for re-introduction from the wild.

Many Meconopsis species are monocarpic (they die after flowering and setting seed), and therefore need to be raised regularly from seed in order to keep them in cultivation. This is particularly important with the trickier species.

Donation and Distribution of Seed
It would be appreciated if donations of fresh clean seed from Meconopsis, and other highly desirable plants, could be sent to the Seed Exchange Manager as early as possible; to arrive no later than 25th October. Seed will be accepted after this date if a list of donations has been sent earlier by post or by e-mail.

Please write the name of the plant legibly on each packet of seed, together with your name or initials. Paper or glassine packets are preferred to plastic ones, as it makes seed removal much easier. Requests from donors will be dealt with first during seed distribution.

The Seed List will be e-mailed out to members in early November. A paper copy of the Seed List will be sent to members who do not have internet access.

For UK members there is a nominal charge of £5 per consignment (10 packets) to cover costs. Non-UK members have already paid for their seed as part of their annual subscription. If anyone wishes to order extra packets at the same time, there will be a charge of 50p per packet according to availability.

Your seed request, together with a cheque payable to "The Meconopsis Group" should be sent to the Seed Exchange Manager (address above). There is no need to send a self-addressed envelope, but please remember to complete the return address label on the Seed List. If possible, non-UK members should submit their seed request by e-mail.

UK members can send their seed request by e-mail, but seed will not be dispatched until payment has been made.

US members must have a 'Small Lots of Seeds' permit, issued by APHIS. You can find details of how to get a permit here.

The 'Small Lots' permit is the only one not requiring phytosanitary certification in the UK. Together with your seed request, we need a copy of your permit with the conditions attached to it and a green and yellow customs quarantine label for that permit. You can make your seed selection online, but no seed will be dispatched until we have your permit documents and customs label. We understand that the permit lasts for 3 years and can be re-used.

If you encounter problems, e-mail the Seed Exchange Manager for advice.

Notes on identification and correct naming
An aim of paramount importance is correct identification of plants. Whilst in specialist societies dealing with a vast number of species, it is often difficult to ensure correct naming of all the seeds submitted to their seed exchanges, this should be possible for a group of plants with relatively few species, such as our own.
However, it is clear that problems do exist and members are urged to try to make sure the seeds sent to the Seed Exchange are correctly identified.
The following notes are aimed to help with this.

M. baileyi (betonicifolia of hort.), M. 'Lingholm' and M. grandis
It became clear that gardeners often have problems distinguishing amongst MM. baileyi, 'Lingholm' and grandis. A study in 2001-2 found that a high proportion (up to 50%) of the seeds sent to specialist societies' seed exchanges under these names were incorrectly labelled. Reference to the pictures below taken from other parts of our website should enable distinguishing between these taxa. Hopefully, the situation now (2009) has improved.

M. baileyi

M. 'Lingholm'

M. baileyi (left) and three M. 'Lingholm

M.'Lingholm' (top) & M.baileyi seeds

M. grandis

Cut fruit-capsule and leaf of M. baileyi

Cut fruit-capsule, seeds and leaves of M. 'Lingholm'

Sections of fruit-capsules: left M. 'Lingholm' with fat, viable seeds and right M. 'Slieve Donard' with abortive seeds

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

(8)

1. M. grandis 2. M. 'Lingholm' 3. M. 'Slieve Donard' 4. M. 'Bobby Masterton' 5. M. 'Crarae' 6. M. 'Ascreavie' 7. M. 'Jimmy Bayne' 8. M. 'Huntfield'.
Notes:
(i) The fruit-capsules of M. grandis (1) currently in cultivation are usually, but not invariably, glabrous.
(ii) (2) is attributed to Fertile Blue Group, (3,4 and 5) to Infertile Blue Group and (6,7 and 8) to George Sherriff Group.
(iii) It is striking that the external appearance of the capsules of M. 'Lingholm' and M. 'Slieve Donard' at this stage of development are so similar.

Other species
Not only the big perennial blue poppies, but other species as well sent to the Seed Exchange, are sometimes incorrectly identified. This may well be as a result of having grown the plant under the wrong name in the first place! And for some taxa, e.g. the horridula complex, taxonomic revisions are currently underway. But whatever their names, gardeners like to grow these lovely plants, so please send your seeds to the Seed Exchange.

Suggested procedure
To help with the problems of identification and naming, our committee has suggested various measures.

  • Attempt to verify the identity of your plants by reference to descriptions in books and by discussion with fellow enthusiasts, if this is possible.
  • If you still have any doubts about the identity of your plants, please include explanatory notes for the Seed Exchange Manager when you send your seed to the Exchange. Also, in this age of the digital camera, it should be easy for many members to take photographs which can then be sent, either printed or by email, to the Seed Exchange Manager. Hopefully, Jim Jermyn will then be able to clarify and verify the naming of the species submitted to the Seed Exchange.
  • Also include details of growing conditions of plants from which your seeds are collected, e.g. whether grown in isolation or in proximity to other species with which they may have crossed.

Note from James Cobb (Autumn 2005)
James Cobb has asked for the following to be added to the Seed Exchange page and to be distributed to members with the Seed Exchange letter.

" I planted three variants of purported Meconopsis grandis in Caithness some years ago. One of these was submitted to The Meconopsis Group Seed Exchange in 2004 as 'M. grandis Bobby's narrow-leaved form'. This seed has germinated well for me BUT it is I fear M. 'Lingholm'. If you have grown this please do not re-submit the seed as Bobby's narrow-leaved form of M. grandis. The up-side is that I planted these 'Lingholm' extensively in Cumbria and Caithness and they were quite brilliant, large uniform and a perfect blue in a year when many Meconopsis were wishy-washy coloured.

A word of warning. We must recognise that M. 'Lingholm', being seed-raised, is a bit variable, and ideally, seed for sending to the seed exchanges should be selected from the best of plants, such as those just referred to and in the accompanying photograph. We must also be on the look-out for hybridising between 'Lingholm' and other Meconopsis, and if you have good 'Lingholm', keep it pure if you can. To help with identification, if you are not familiar with the differences amongst these plants. pictures of my excellent M. 'Lingholm', M. 'Kingsbarns' and true M. grandis, such as Bobby's narrow-leaved form, are shown. "

M .'Lingholm'

M. 'Kingsbarns'

M. grandis

M. 'Lingholm' in Cumbria in 2005, photo by James Cobb. M. 'Kingsbarns' in Perthshire in 2005, photo by Evelyn Stevens, identity confirmed by James Cobb, raiser of this cultivar. M. grandis, in Perthshire, photo by Evelyn Stevens of a plant purchased from Ron McBeath in 1997.

M. 'Lingholm' is clearly quite distinct from the other two plants (see also seed-capsule in set of pictures of seed-capsules earlier on this page). The two others are similar with slender leaves and single flowers arising at the apex of each main flowering stem (peduncle). However, whilst in M. 'Kingsbarns' the peduncle, (at the apex of which arises a false whorl of leaves, this being the point at which the single flowers arise), is relatively long, in M. grandis it is relatively short, arising a short distance above soil level. In both, the pedicels (stems which bear each individual flower) lengthen considerably and strikingly after flowering and the similar large capsules are glabrous (see picture above of a seed-capsule of M grandis,). Note, however, that in plants raised from seed of M grandis collected from the wild in more recent years (e.g. N.E. Nepal in 2000), the capsules may be similar to these, but bear bristles, and occasionally there is more than one flower per false whorl.

Finally, please do not be discouraged from sending seed, even if you are unsure of names. This is a study group, and by sending seed with comments (and photographs, if possible), we should gradually be able to make progress in our knowledge of this beautiful genus.

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