Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, November 2009
Glaucium squamigerum - by Liam McCaughey

Glaucium squamigerum - what might be described as an 'interesting', rather than a dramatic plant.

It is found in Central Asia, from the Tien Shan to the Pamir mountains, and the seed which we obtained fron Vojtech Holubec came from Tajikistan, (the Yazgulem Range in the Pamir, at 2200 m, growing in a  gneiss scree). In his book on Poppies, Grey Wilson stated that it was then (1993) apparently not in cultivation outside the CIS.
Like all the horned poppies, the fruit capsules are extremely long, and its name presumably comes from the remarkable 'scales' on these - in close-up they look more like crystals.
Joan sowed seed at the end of January and when it had germinated it was pricked out into our part-built crevice garden. After a slow start, it has been flowering continuously from May, and although Grey Wilson gives the flowering time as between May and August, this year it is still producing blooms as we approach the time to set the clocks back.
Never more than one or two flowers at a time, and they seem to attract a pollinating fly as soon as they open, and by the end of the day the petals are falling off and the capsule beginning to elongate.