Botan­i­cal name of blue poppy changed to new species

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Pen­jor

It has been dis­cov­ered that the sci­en­tific or botan­i­cal name of blue poppy was changed from Me­conop­sis gran­dis subsp. ori­en­talis to Me­conop­sis gakyid­i­ana to a new name but the com­mon name of the na­tional flower re­mains the same as Blue Poppy.

Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity Cen­ter ( NBC), cu­ra­tor of na­tional herbar­ium Rinchen Yang­zom said that tax­o­nomic com­plex study on Me­conop­sis of Bhutan was car­ried out by the Na­tional Herbar­ium, NBC, from 2013 to 2015 in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Blue So­ci­ety Ja­pan.

She added that their col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search re­vealed that our na­tional flower is very dif­fer­ent from Me­conop­sis gran­dis which is found in Nepal. There­fore, our Na­tional flower is a species new to sci­ence, mean­ing it’s a new dis­cov­ery and war­rant­ing a new name, Me­conop­sis gakyid­i­ana ( gakyid– hap­pi­ness, in­spired by our guid­ing de­vel­op­men­tal phi­los­o­phy of GNH, diana - La­tinized us­ing In­ter­na­tional Code of Nomen­cla­ture.

NCB’s se­nior bio­di­ver­sity of­fi­cer, Choki Gyelt­shen said that the com­mon name in English and Dzongkha names are not changed, they re­mains the same. But the sci­en­tific name has been up­graded from pre­vi­ously known as Me­conop­sis gran­dis subsp. ori­en­talis to Me­conop­sis gakyid­i­ana.

He added that the sci­en­tific name has been changed be­cause the cur­rent na­tional flower is not Me­conop­sis gran­dis, and more­over true Me­conop­sis gran­dis is not found in Bhutan, it is found in Sikkim and east­ern Nepal.

He said that this Me­conop­sis gakyid­i­ana ( Na­tional Flower) has been dis­cov­ered as new species along with two new species Me­conop­sis mer­ak­en­sis and Me­conop­sis elon­gata. While, Me­conop­sis elon­gata is also an en­demic to Bhutan.

Rinchen Yang­zom said that the for­mer name, Me­conop­sis gran­dis was de­scribed by Prain based on the blue poppy from Sikkim. She said that in 1934, Ge­orge Sher­riff, English Botanist, found sim­i­lar blue poppy in Sak­teng, Trashigang.

She also said that botanists then taken it for the same species. In 2010, Gery- Wil­son, found the species from Sek­teng to be dis­sim­i­lar to M. gran­dis and re­described as M. gran­dis subsp. ori­en­talis.

Fur­ther­more, dur­ing their tax­o­nomic com­plex study, the three au­thors, Toshio Yoshida, Rinchen Yang­zom and David Long de­scribed it as new species and pub­lished in 2016.

While in Bhutan, our na­tional flower is found only in Merak and Sek­teng, Trashigang, it is also found in ad­ja­cent re­gions of Arunachal Pradesh, In­dia and South- east­ern Ti­bet, China.

Me­conop­sis elon­gata re­stricted west­ern parts of Bhutan, mainly Haa and ad­ja­cent re­gions of Paro and Thim­phu while, the Me­conop­sis mer­ak­en­sis is found in Merak and Sak­teng in Trashigang.

The blue poppy which was found in other parts of our coun­try is dif­fer­ent species and is not our na­tional flower.

Rinchen Yang­zom said that the Flora of Bhutan ( 1984) has recorded 13 species of Me­conop­sis in Bhutan. How­ever, through their cur­rent joint re­search, the list is up­dated to 15 species and four in­tra spe­cific taxa.

Mean­while, the bi­o­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of the flower, she said that Hi­malayan pop­pies are much prized com­mer­cial plants for their aes­thetic value and for Bhutan it has na­tional sig­nif­i­cance be­ing the na­tional flower of the coun­try.

Pic­ture cour­tesy to Mr. Toshio Yoshida. Me­conop­sis mer­ak­en­sis

Pic­ture cour­tesy to Mr. Toshio Yoshida. The na­tional flower, Blue Puppy (Me­conop­sis gakyid­i­ana)

Pic­ture cour­tesy to Mr. Toshio Yoshida. Me­conop­sis elon­gata

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