Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: White prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora spp. texana) is an erect, prickly, deep-rooted, annual or biennial that contains bright yellow latex (Correl & Johnston, 1996). A member of the poppy (papaveraceae) family, it has a showy white flower, with numerous yellow or reddish stamens (Ajilvsgi, 1991). The sepals of the white prickly poppy are topped with sharp prickles, and the sepals fall off as the flower expands (Zomlefer, 1994).
The leaves also are spiny, which keeps cattle from eating it, since this plant is somewhat poisonous. Ajilvsgi (1991) notes that the leaves of the white prickly poppy are so prickly that cattle will not even eat it during severe drought periods.
The seeds of a related species, rose or spiny prickly poppy (Argemone sanguinea), provide food for mourning doves and bobwhite quail (Everitt, Drawe, & Lonard, 1999). This species has white, lavender, or purple flowers (Jones, 1982). It can be found in the southern half of Texas, from the coast, to the far western border of the state (Ajilsvgi, 1991). Jones (1982) notes that the two species are fairly similar, but that white prickly poppy has ascending prickles on its sepals, as opposed to the perpendicular prickles on the sepals of the rose prickly poppy.
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: It is often found in disturbed areas, along fence rows and railroad tracks, on hills and slopes, and in overgrazed pastures and old fields. White prickly poppies tend to grow in colonies (Ajilvsgi, 1991).