Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness
Presented in Association with the
Western New Mexico University Department
of Natural Sciences
Argemone pleiacantha Greene
(Prickly Poppy, Southwestern Prickly Poppy)
Argemone pleiacantha has large white petals and many yellow stamens at the center of the flower.
The leaves and stems are armed with spines and are grayish. The leaves are pinnately lobed more than half way to the midrib.
The ovary is 4-6 carpellate, and it matures into a prickly 4-6 chambered capsule which splits open from above but only
for about 1/4 of its length. The seeds disperse easily from the capsule if it is inverted.
The pattern of ridges on the seed resembles netting or the pattern on a soccer ball.
Argemone is a basal Eudicot in the Ranunculales, a clade that also includes the Berberidaceae. One of the main alkaloids in
Argemone pleiacantha is Berberine, also found in and named after the genus Berberis. Berberine gives the sap of Argemone pleiacantha
its characteristic yellow color. Many of the alkaloid constituents of Argemone species are poisonous.
Argemone pleiacantha, photo Russ Kleinman, Silver City, May 19, 2007
Argemone pleiacantha, full view, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, June 4, 2005
Argemone pleiacantha, looking down from above on prickly capsules which open from the apex, photo Russ Kleinman, Burro Mtns., CBar Ranch Road, December 20, 2008
Argemone pleiacantha, 5x macro of "soccer ball" seeds, photo Russ Kleinman, Burro Mtns., CBar Ranch Road, December 20, 2008
Argemone pleiacantha, partial floral dissection showing superior ovary, photo Russ Kleinman, Silver City, September 9, 2011
Argemone pleiacantha, growth habit and leaves, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, August 22, 2012
Argemone pleiacantha, yellow sap, photo Russ Kleinman, Pinos Altos Range, Pinos Altos, August 22, 2012
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