A rare plant comes into flower
Megacarpaea polyandra

This imposing member of the cabbage family originates from areas of the Himalaya with high precipitation and grows at altitudes between 3,000 m and 4,300 m. The Alpine Garden on the Schachen is the only place in the whole of Germany where Megacarpaea polyandra can be brought into flower. But the horticulturist needs patience. For the first 10 or more years only the rosette of finely dissected leaves appears each spring. Once enough reserve energy has been stored in the swollen tap root, the flower stalk emerges with the first leaves at the end of winter and grows a majestic 1 to 2 metres with hundreds of small pale yellow flowers. After flowering and setting seed the plant dies and the cycle starts again from a newly germinated seed.

Megacarpaea polyandra

Jennifer Wainwright-Klein, supervisor of the Alpine Garden, next to Megacarpaea polyandra (in the background: Hunting Lodge of Ludwig II on the Schachen)

Flower stalk of Megacarpaea polyandra

Single flower of Megacarpaea polyandra

Text: Andreas Gröger