Blue Poppy, the National Flower of Bhutan, is known locally as 'Euitgel Metog Hoem’. Its biological name is Meconopsis grandis. At one time, people considered it to be a myth because of its existence had not been confirmed but they can be found along high mountain passes from the far eastern parts of the country across to the west. It is one of the rarest flowers in the world and its stems have 4 to 5 flowers. Blue poppies used to grow abundantly at the Chelela pass in the Paro Valley but recently, its growth have been severely depleted and they have become quite rare. According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature in Bhutan, about 150 blue poppies were spotted here in the 1990s but the numbers depleted to only 11 in 2002. The depletion has been mainly attributed to the people from the neighboring districts, who dig away these plants to plant them in their own gardens.
Four types of blue poppies were identified at the Chelela Pass. The rare ‘Meconopsis napaulensis’ is on the verge of extinction in the area, which could further lead to disturbance in the ecosystem of the area. Transplanted blue poppies do not grow properly and the best way to sow the seed, to get a healthy blue poppy plant. 13 types of endemic Blue Poppies have been identified all over Bhutan, strewn all over the alpine region across the country. Hair-like bristles cover the leaves and stems of the plant to protect them from the cold Himalayan winds. Blue Poppy is a hardy perennial flowering plant. It is herbaceous and blooms in summer. The flowers are huge and are about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Its plants can be two feet tall and can grow from sunny to partial shade areas. The beautiful blue flowers have shades of violet look magnificent. They have a velvet or fuzzy texture and its germination and aftercare can be quite challenging.