You didn’t think I’d not shoot a macro of this Glamour-Poppy, did you?
Here are the pollen-laden anthers of a mature Meconopsis betonicifolia, surrounding the ultra-protruding, cross-tipped pistil, which is presumably already starting to seed. I’m assuming that the pistil and anthers reach fertility at different dates, to prevent self-pollination.
Once again, I am indebted to the phenomenally talented gardeners at Longwood Gardens for growing the specimens, which I shot at golden hour, with Sony a7rIII and Sony’s wonderful 90mm G OSS Macro lens—one of the sharpest and most multi-purposeful in my kit. As a regrettably-anonymous wag on the Missouri Botanical Garden Website declares:
“The difficulty (some gardeners say impossibility) of growing this plant has risen to the level of legend.”
I’ve already heard from a Finnish Follower who was unable to do so, even in the cooler climes of Scandinavia. How about YOU? If you’ve ever tried to grow —or even thought of growing—one of these “impossible to grow” flowers, please post a comment!
Discovered on the slopes of Mt. Everest by storied British mountaineer George Leigh Mallory, Meconopsis comes from the Latin mekon, meaning “poppy” and opsis, meaning “looks like” —because, although it has the crepe-like petals, protruding stigma, and cone-shaped appearance (at an early stage) of a poppy, it isn’t actually part of the Papaveracæa family of true poppies.
It is, however, truly and phenomenally blue. The featured photograph was shot with the blossom’s petals against the setting sun—and even this couldn’t wash out the blue pigments. Below, I’m showing two shots of the same species with indirect light—and I can assure you the colors were not enhanced in post.
NOTE: Although it would be impractical to grow such a difficult plant for this purpose, the petals of this plant might be an amazing nutritional supplement…
Biochemical analysis of the blue Meconopsis pigment by the National Institutes of Health has turned up fantastically high levels of Flavonols, substances which help protect plants —and humans!—from disease. Moreover…
Although blue blossoms are uncommon, the biochemists conclude these are off the charts —colored with a pigment all their own!
The Himalayan Poppy’s ultra-high Flavonol levels, together with high concentrations of ferric and magnesium ions, and an unusually acidic vacuole pH of 4.8, result in what the analysts conclude to be a brand-new kind of super-intense blue pigment.
And with this, dear reader, I’ve shot my bolt. Enjoy the photographs, let me know if you have any questions and don’t forget to leave your LIKE and COMMENT.