There are over 90 species of Meconopsis, all of which come from the Himalayan regions of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Tibetan Autonomous Region, from Myanmar, and the Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai, Hubei and Gansu. Most species have a very small distribution within this area, a few are critically endangered and about eight occur in both the Himalaya and China.
An alphabetical list may be found in the Meconopsis Species Gallery with photographs taken in named locations in the wild and in cultivation. The Meconopsis Group was set up to study the genus by scientific research and we offer advice to anyone with an interest in visiting any of these areas to do so. Further information is available under Exploration. Information about Meconopsis taxonomy may be found in the section on Classification.
The majority of tall blue perennial poppies grown in cultivation are derived from just three species: Meconopsis baileyi, M. gakyidiana and M. grandis, while a few are thought to involve M. simplicifolia, M. betonicifolia and yellow flowered M. sulphurea and M. integrifolia. A list of garden cultivars and photographs of them may be found in the Cultivar Gallery. The much smaller M. quintuplineria is also a popular garden plant and its hybrid with M. punicea, M. ×cookei, is also widely grown. For more information see Hybrids.
The first Meconopsis to be described was the Welsh Poppy, Meconopsis cambrica, a popular widely cultivated species, native to western Ireland, Wales, south-western England, south-west France and northern Spain. However, once it was discovered that it is not sufficiently closely related to be included in the same genus as the Sino Himalayan species, a new genus, Parameconopsis was created and this species should now be referred to as Parameconopsis cambrica.
Four other species once included in the genus Meconopsis have now been reclassified as species of Cathcartia. They are C. chelidonifolia, C. oliveriana, C. smithiana and C. villosa.