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Argemone polyanthemos (Crested pricklypoppy)
Lytle, Melody

Argemone polyanthemos

Argemone polyanthemos (Fedde) G.B. Ownbey

Crested Pricklypoppy, Annual Pricklepoppy, Bluestem Pricklepoppy, Bluestem Prickly Poppy, Pricklypoppy, Thistle Poppy, White Prickly Poppy, White Pricklypoppy

Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Synonym(s): Argemone intermedia, Argemone intermedia var. polyanthemos, Argemone platyceras

USDA Symbol: ARPO2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A branched, pale blue-green, leafy plant with white flowers, yellow sap, and slender yellow prickles all over.

Argema, in Greek, means "cataract of the eye," for which species of this genus were supposedly a remedy. There are several species in the West, all similar, a few with yellow, pinkish, or lavender petals. The herbage of this poisonous plant is so prickly and distasteful that livestock avoid it.


From the Image Gallery

24 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 4 feet tall, often shorter.
Leaf: Green
Flower: Flowers 5 inches.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AZ , CO , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , MT , ND , NE , NM , OK , SD , TX , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: South-central New Mexico and northern half of Texas; north to South Dakota and eastern Wyoming.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Gravelly, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay


Use Ornamental: Showy, Blooms ornamental, Long-blooming
Use Wildlife: Nectar-Bees, Nectar-Butterflies, Nectar-beetles
Warning: All parts of the plants are poisonous (including the seeds) if ingested. The spines contain a substance irritating to the skin. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Argemone polyanthemos in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Argemone polyanthemos in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Argemone polyanthemos


Record Modified: 2022-11-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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