Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Papaveraceae >>> Argemone sp.

Prickly Poppy

Argemone pleiacantha ?

Argemone photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed at Hassayampa Box Canyon, Yavapai Co., Arizona. April 2008.

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ARMED. Leaves, buds and stems are covered with long, thin, sharp prickles. In addition the foliage contains alkaloids of varying toxicity.

ANNUAL: Tall annual of sandy or gravelly soil mostly along washes. Also at roadsides and pastures.

LEAVES: Leaves are deeply lobed with sharply serrate margines. Blue-green in color.

RANGE: Several species of white-petaled Argemone poppies may be present in the Sonoran Desert. A. pleiacantha may dominate in the eastern portions of the Sonoran and into the Chihuahuan Deserts. Separation of the species requires sometimes hazardous examination of the arrangement of prickles. The plants are avoided by grazing animals and therefore become common and weedy on rangeland.

FLOWERS: Large, broad, white petals surround a dense group of many yellow stamens. Flowering mid to late spring through summer months.

FRUIT: Dry capsules also densely prickly split from apex to release numerous small seeds.

Papaveraceae -- Poppy Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009