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Argemone mexicana (Mexican prickly poppy)
Smith, R.W.

Argemone mexicana

Argemone mexicana L.

Mexican Prickly Poppy, Mexican Prickly Poppy, Yellow Prickly Poppy

Papaveraceae (Poppy Family)

Synonym(s): Argemone leiocarpa

USDA Symbol: arme4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N), VI (N), CAN (W)

The yellow prickly poppy, 8-18 inches tall, has a smooth or slightly prickly stem. The deeply lobed leaves are a whitish green, and the upper ones clasp the stem between their two lower lobes. The upper surface of the leaf is smooth. Flowers are yellow, about 2 1/2 inches across. The sap from this plant is bright yellow.

This thistle-leaved species occurs from Virginia and Tennessee to Florida and Texas and has escaped from cultivation northward.


From the Image Gallery

25 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 32 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: May flower year-round in the southern part of it's range.


USA: AL , AZ , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , HI , IA , IL , IN , KS , LA , MA , MD , MI , MO , MS , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT
Native Distribution: Virginia and Tennessee south to Florida and west to Texas; spreading northward to New England, Great Lakes, and Midwest.
Native Habitat: Disturbed areas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Sandy


Warning: Seeds and other plant parts can be toxic if ingested. 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


Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
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 mexicana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Argemone mexicana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Argemone mexicana


Record Modified: 2022-11-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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