WELSH POPPY

Meconopsis cambrica

Poppy Family [Papaveraceae]  

month8May month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8Aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8yellow
 
inner
inner8green
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8hollow
hollow
stem
stem8milkysap stem8milkylatex
yellow

22nd May 2009, Duddon Valley, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Up to 60cm tall with yellow (sometimes orange) petals. White flowers of Sanicle also in the photo (the lower ones; the tallest white flowers belong to another Umbellifer).


11th May 2012, Torver, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves pale-green with yellowish tinge. Grows in rocky places in the hilly areas. Flowers usually drooping below the horizontal.


11th May 2012, Torver, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Un-opened flower buds hang down on an upturned U-shaped stalk. The green sepals have a few white hairs, but the sepals drop off when the flowers open. Stems sparsely hairy.


11th May 2012, Torver, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The sepals drop off open flowers; none here.


11th May 2012, Torver, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A wide ring of a multitude of stamens with yellow anthers surrounds a small green ovary tipped by a white stigma, here a five-starred one, others usually four.


31st May 2005, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Foulridge. Photo: © RWD
Some flowers are orange, but still with yellow anthers.


11th May 2012, Torver, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The green ovary will grow longer into a seed capsule.


24th June 2006, Walkden, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The seed capsule growing longer within the centre of the flower. Capsule is beaked, being topped by remnants of stigma. Stamens now withering.


8th June 2007, Greenside Mine track, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The petals drop off, the seed capsule, green at first, stand up erect.


8th June 2007, Greenside Mine track, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The seed capsule surrounded by the withering stamens, soon to drop off.


8th June 2007, Greenside Mine track, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The seed capsules turn brown from the top, which presumably dries them with subsequent shrinking of the panels and they peel back from the top, allowing the tiny seeds to escape when disturbed by wind or animals. The seeds are tiny.


4th April 2006, Walkden, Greater Manchester. Photo: © RWD
The basal rosette of leaves before flowering.


8th June 2007, Greenside Mine track, Glenridding, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Leaves yellowish green, pinnately lobed. Stems only slightly hairy, hollow, and ooze a yellow liquid if broken.


11th May 2012, Torver, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A distinctive leaflet, almost hairless.


Some similarities to : Atlas Poppy, which also has yellowish-orange flowers but that has long leaves with triangular lobes.

Slight resemblance to : Yellow Horned-Poppy which also has yellow flowers but that grows by the seaside and has massively long seed capsules, curling out over a foot, and to Greater Celandine but that has glaucous-green rounded-lobed leaves and exudes an orange liquid if the stems are broken.

Has a hollow stem but without the milky latex of the Papaver or Glaucium poppies. The only plant in this Genus, Meconopsis, at least in Eorope (but other species exist from China and the Himalayas). It is planted extensively in gardens from where it readily spreads. It has pinnately divided leaves and mostly yellow flowers, but orange flowers are quite common.

Meconic Acid is present at about 5% in several species of Poppy, including Opium Poppy and Welsh Poppy (Meconopsis Cambrica) from which it derives its name. It is pharmacologically inert, having little or no effect. It forms salts called Meconates with metals and alkaloids. It is chemically similar to the Chelidonic Acid present in Greater Celandine, which also belongs to the Poppy Family.

BENZYLISOQUINOLINE ALKALOIDS in WELSH POPPY

The major alkaloids of Welsh Poppy are (-)-Mecambrine, (-)-Mecambridine, (-)-Flavinantine, (+)-Magnoflorine, and a small amount of (+)-Mecambroline.


Mecambroline (aka Isofugapavine and Isofungipavine), named after its occurrence in Welsh Poppy has a greater abundance within it than does Magnofluorine, a similar compound. It has the aporphine skeleton.

Mecambrine is a spiro-compound with the proaporphine skeleton which is dissimilar to the spiro compound Fumaricine which occurs in some Fumaria Genus species.


Mecambridine is an benzylisoquinoline with the same skeleton as Berberine.

All the above benzylisoquinolines are named after Welsh poppy in which they were first discovered.


Reticuline, however, is a benzylisoquinoline based upon the Morphine skeleton. The production of morphinan alkaloids in the plant was found to be stimulated by Tyrosine and Ascorbic Acid.

Minor alkaloids found within Welsh poppy include Roemarine, Corytuberine. Minute quantities of Protopine, AlloCryptopine, Roemeroline, Papaverrubine D and C, Berberine, Coptisine, Corysamine and Palmatine were also found, all typical of plants of the Poppy Family (Papapaveraceae).


  Meconopsis cambrica  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Papaveraceae  

Distribution
family8Poppy family8Papaveraceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Meconopsis
Meconopsis
(Welsh-poppy)

WELSH POPPY

Meconopsis cambrica

Poppy Family [Papaveraceae]  

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