Meconopsis manasluensis P.Egan, 2011

Egan, Paul A., 2011, Meconopsis autumnalis and M. manasluensis (Papaveraceae), two new species of Himalayan poppy endemic to central Nepal with sympatric congeners, Phytotaxa 20 (1), pp. 47-56 : 50-53

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.20.1.4

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scientific name

Meconopsis manasluensis P.Egan

sp. nov.

Meconopsis manasluensis P.Egan   , sp. nov. (subgenus Discogyne G.Taylor   ) ( Fig. 2 View FIGURE 2 . & Fig. 3b View FIGURE 3 .)

Meconopsis manasluensis   a M. tibetica   pedicellis longioribus, gemmis et capsulis anguste ovoideis vel cylindricis et disco styli majore differt.

Type:— NEPAL. Central Nepal , Manaslu Himal ( Gorkha district ), east of Samdo on south side of Sanam Khola river valley, 28°38'N, 84°38'E, 4000 m, Ikeda et al. 20815156 (holotype E! [ E00360728 ], isotype E! [ E00360729 ]) GoogleMaps   .

Erect monocarpic herbs, 30–60 cm. Stems multiple, partially fusing above the rootstock crown, to 1.5 cm in diameter at base; taproot twisted, fleshy, 2.5–3.0 cm wide. Indumentum a sparse to moderately dense cover of 3–6 mm fawn or orange barbellate bristles. Basal leaves in rosettes, pubescent on both surfaces and petioles; petioles 3–5 cm, winged; lamina tapered at the leaf base, sub-acute or rounded at the apex, obelliptic to narrow oblanceolate, 6.5–15.5 × 1.5–3.0 cm; margins entire. Cauline leaves gradually decreasing in size upwards, otherwise resembling basal leaves; lower leaves shortly petiolate, uppermost leaves and bracts sessile. Inflorescence racemose, 30-flowered, the flowers borne singly on the central axis and multiple, leafy lateral stems. Flowers saucer-shaped, lateral-facing to subascendant. Pedicels conspicuously elongate, 1.5–7.5 cm, decurrent on stem, curved throughout anthesis, though erect at fruiting. Buds ellipsoidal, with sparse cover of long ascending, flexuose bristles. Petals 4 or 5(–8), scarlet with darker, purple patches towards the base, broadly ellipsoidal to obovate, 2.0–3.0 × 1.0–2.0 cm. Filaments red-purple, anthers yellow-orange. Ovary densely covered with fawn to orange ascending bristles. Style 7–12 mm, slender, with stylar-disk to 8 mm in diameter projecting beyond edge of ovary. Stigma yellow, capitate, 3–4 mm, generally 6-lobed. Capsule narrowly ovoid to cylindric, 0.8–1.6 × 0.4–0.7 cm, dehiscing by 8-valves; indumentum of sparsely spreading bristles.

Flowering: —July–August.

Ecology: —Herb-rich alpine grasslands with scattered shrubs ( Berberis   , Lonicera   , Salix   , etc.) and dwarf trees of Betula utilis   . Found amongst boulders in moist, humus-rich soils. Locally common.

Elevational range: —ca. 4000 m.

Distribution: —Currently only known from locality of type collection, Manaslu Himal, central Nepal.

Etymology: —The species is named after the mountain range to which it is endemic; the Manaslu Himal, and in honour of the Flora of Nepal Manaslu 2008 Expedition, during which it was discovered.

Subgenus Discogyne G.Taylor   is defined by the possession of a substylar disc surmounting the ovary, a feature clearly distinguishing it from the rest of the genus. Meconopsis manasluensis   is easily distinguished from all other species of this subgenus because it is the only one with multiple flowering stems, unlike the single prominent fleshy stem in the other five species. Although the subgenus was first proposed by Taylor (1934) based only on M. discigera Prain (1906: 356) and M. torquata Prain (1906: 355), known from the Indo- Himalaya and south-central Tibet respectively, this number has grown in the intervening decades with discoveries of species centred upon the central Himalaya ( Grey-Wilson 2006a, Zhou 1979).

☺ Minor occurrence • Major occurrence Strict or near endemic † EH= Eastern Himalayan, WH= Western Himalayan, NB= Northern Burmese, SY= Sikang-Yunnan ~ Occurrence in Myanmar controversial, see Kress et al. (2003) * Newly described or reinstated/recircumscribed by Grey-Wilson (2006b)

In Nepal, only a single species, namely M. simikotensis Grey-Wilson (2006a: 220) and the yellow form of M. discigera, are reported from the west and east of the country respectively, whereas the species M. pinnatifolia C.Y.Wu & H.Chuang ex L.H. Zhou (1979: 114) and M. manasluensis   are known from central Nepal, and occur in partial sympatry in the Manaslu Himal. Meconopsis manasluensis   is distinguished from M. pinnatifolia by its entire versus pinnately cleft leaves, and dark red versus purple flowers. It differs from the closely related M. tibetica Grey-Wilson (2006: 222)   by its elongated pedicels, narrowly ovoid or cylindric buds and capsules (versus subglobose capsules found in M. tibetica   ), and in the projection of its stylar disc beyond the edge of the ovary. Meconopsis manasluensis   is also geographically separated by some 260 km of rugged terrain from M. tibetica   , which thus far is only known from several small populations located north west of Mount Everest in the Xizang Region of China.


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