Merak White Poppy
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Merak White Poppy
P Native Photo: Tabish
Common name: Merak White Poppy
Botanical name: Meconopsis merakensis var. albolutea    Family: Papaveraceae (Poppy family)
Synonyms: Meconopsis prainiana var. lutea (G. Taylor) Grey-Wilson

Merak White Poppy is a species described only in 2017. We found it in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh in 2013. It is named for the Merak region of Bhutan. It is a perennial herb, 35-70 cm tall. Entire plant is covered with spine-like hairs; hairs pale straw-coloured or whitish, rather short, up to 4 mm long. Stem is simple, 17-27 cm long, 1-2 cm broad, covered with patent spine-like hairs. Basal leaves are stalked; leaf-stalk broadly linear, 3-9 cm long, 2-5mm wide; blade mostly strap-shaped or linearly oblong, sometimes oblong or lanceshaped, 4-12 cm long, 1.0-2.2 cm wide, base narrowed, margin entire or wavy, occasionally coarsely toothed, tip blunt or pointed, both surfaces covered with patent spine-like hairs. Upper leaves and bracts are stalkless; blade linearly oblong or lanceshaped, 2-8cm long, 4-10mm wide, base wedge-shaped, margin entire or wavy, tip blunt or pointed. White or yellowish flowers are borne in a raceme. Flower-stalks are 1-4 cm long in flower, up to 8 cm long in fruit, swollen at base of calyx. Flowers are 10-15 per plant, usually deeply nodding, bowl-shaped, 3-5 cm across; calyx 1.3-1.7 cm long. Petals are 4, cream-yellow or white, broadly ovate, rounded or broadly obovate, 2-3.5cm long, 1.7-3 cm wide; stamens numerous, filaments thread-like, similar to petals in colour, 7-9 mm long, anthers 1-1.5 mm long. Fruit capsules are nearly cylindrical, 3-3.7cm long. Merak White Poppy is found in W. Arunachal Pradesh, in Tawang district, Mago district; E. Bhutan, Sakten region of Tashigang district, at altitudes of 3800-4500 m.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed enroute to Bumla Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.

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