The Meconopsis genus contains some of the most exquisitely beautiful of all flowering plants. M. cambrica is the only European representative of the genus, it is the easiest to grow, and reliably perennial.
The Welsh poppy is a tap-rooted perennial with light green, lobed leaves. The delicate cup-shaped 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) golden-yellow flowers are borne in abundance from late spring to early autumn.
Unlike many other Meconopsis it will grow in both fairly dry and in damp conditions, but do best in moderately rich, woodland soil in shade or part shade. The plants look best when grown in drifts under a light canopy of trees or between large shrubs. The best way to get a good colony established is to plant a few pot-grown plants, allow them to self-seed, which they do happily in good growing conditions, and then leave the seedlings where they come up naturally. Its ideal site is in shade with acid soil
As with other poppies, the flowers provide pollen for bees. Beetles feed in the seed capsules and some species may overwinter here when the capsules are empty.
This is an undemanding perennial in many climates and is particularly valued by those gardening where other Meconopsis are less easy to please. If you think you will not be able to succeed with other Meconopsis, then M. cambrica is to be recommended.
Sowing: February to May or September to October.
Place seed on the surface of a good free draining compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite.
Seal container inside a polythene bag and place outdoors in a coldframe or sheltered corner. Keep the compost moist and protect from heavy rain but not frost.
Germination can take a few weeks or several months. Do not throw away the containers too soon, Meconopsis has multiple dormancies and may not germinate until at least one winter has passed. Once germinated, place at 10 to 15°C (50 to 59°F) and water carefully from the base of the container to avoid damping off problems.
Transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots once seedlings have two true leaves. Grow on in cooler conditions, with shade from strong sunlight. When well grown, plant 45cm (18in) apart in deep, moist loam in a sheltered, partially shaded position
In warm dry summers it will simply die back to the ground and resprout from the taproot when conditions are suitable. Extremely cold hardy, in cool summers or with plenty of water, it will continue to produce flowers right through to the first frosts.
M. cambrica is perennial but short-lived, but when happy will self-seed prolifically.
At the end of the season, leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flowers Borders and Beds, Low Maintenance, Wildflower Gardens or Wildlife Gardens, Woodland Gardens
The species have two distinct ranges. This single species, Meconopsis cambrica, also known as the Welsh poppy, is indigenous to England, Wales, Ireland, and the Western seaboard of Europe. The Welsh poppy is widely naturalised on moist rocky banks, stream sides and waste ground. The other 40 or so (depending on classification) species are found in the Himalayan mountain range in Asia.
Meconopsis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Papaveraceae, the Poppy family. The genus name is from the Greek mekon meaning 'poppy', and opsis which indicates a resemblance, so meaning 'resembling a poppy'.
Meconopsis cambrica was originally classified as Papaver cambricum and may be referred to as such in older texts.
M. cambrica is rather different to all other Meconopsis, but DNA studies show it to be closely related to them. The botanists say that M. cambrica is not really a Meconopsis, although it was the first to be described and named. It is likely that there will be a name change at some time in the future.
Meconic Acid is present at about 5% in several species of Poppy, including the 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.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 14mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Family Papaveraceae Genus Meconopsis Species cambrica Cultivar Wildflower of the British Isles Synonym Papaver cambricum Common Name Welsh Poppy, Yellow Poppy.
Wildflower of the British Isles
Other Language Names IR. Poipín Breatnach Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Golden-yellow flowers Natural Flower Time Mid spring to late summer Foliage Light green, lobed leaves. Height 30 to 45cm (12-18in) Spread 30 to 45cm (12-18in) Position Shade or part shade. Soil They do best in moderately rich, woodland soil