Argemone mexicana L.

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Argemone mexicana

Photo: Bart Wursten
By Mazowe River, between camp and weir, Hippo Pools

Argemone mexicana

Photo: Bart Wursten
By Mazowe River, between camp and weir, Hippo Pools

Argemone mexicana

Photo: Mark Hyde
Camp by Turgwe River, Humani Ranch

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Common names: Mexican poppy (English) Prickly poppy (English)
Status: Introduced
Erect, glaucous herb to 1 m, with spiny stems. Leaves sessile, amplexicaul, pinnatifid with prickly teeth. Veins on upper surface white, the leaf appearing variegated. Flowers 35-45 mm in diameter, bright yellow. Capsule 25-45 mm, ellipsoid, spiny. Seeds numerous, black.
Notes: Plants with bright yellow or cream-coloured flowers were previously treated as forms of Argemone mexicana. However, the cream-coloured plants are now referred to as a separate species, namely Argemone ochroleuca Sweet subsp. ochroleuca while the bright yellow plants remain under a more narrowly defined Argemone mexicana. The combined species was known from Botswana but we have no specific records of either of the separated species. However, we believe both are likely to occur.
Derivation of specific name: mexicana: of Mexico
Habitat: A weed of waste land, disturbed sites and sandy river beds.
Flowering time:
Worldwide distribution: Native of Central and tropical South America.
Botswana distribution:
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Bandeira, S., Bolnick, D. & Barbosa, F. (2007). Wild Flowers of Southern Mozambique Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique Page 82. (Includes a picture).

Baumann, G. (2005). Photographic Guide to Wildflowers of Malawi Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi Pages 24 - 25. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 156. Also as A. ochroleuca subsp. ochroleuca

Exell, A.W. (1960). Papaveraceae Flora Zambesiaca 1(1) Pages 180 - 181.

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 212. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 66.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 83.

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 90. (Includes a picture).

Pooley, E. (1998). A Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Region. Natal Flora Publications Trust. Durban. Pages 252 - 253. Also as A. ochroleuca (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 91. also as Argemone ochroleuca subsp. ochroleuca

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 221. as Argemone ochroleuca

van der Walt, R. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Limpopo Valley Retha van der Walt, Musina, South Africa Page 179. As A. ochroleuca subsp. ochroleuca (Includes a picture).

Van Wyk, B. & Malan, S. (1988). Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Witwatersrand and Pretoria Region Struik, Cape Town Pages 78 - 79. As A. ochroleuca subsp. ochroleuca (Includes a picture).

Wild, H. (1955). Common Rhodesian Weeds Government of Rhodesia, Salisbury Page 11. (Includes a picture).

Other sources of information about Argemone mexicana:

Our websites:

Flora of Caprivi: Argemone mexicana
Flora of Caprivi: cultivated Argemone mexicana
Flora of Malawi: Argemone mexicana
Flora of Mozambique: Argemone mexicana
Flora of Zambia: Argemone mexicana
Flora of Zimbabwe: Argemone mexicana

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Argemone mexicana
African Plant Database: Argemone mexicana
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Argemone mexicana
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Argemone mexicana
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Argemone mexicana
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Argemone mexicana
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Argemone mexicana
JSTOR Plant Science: Argemone mexicana
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Argemone mexicana
Plants of the World Online: Argemone mexicana
Tropicos: Argemone mexicana
Wikipedia: Argemone mexicana

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2014-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Botswana: Species information: Argemone mexicana., retrieved 25 May 2024

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