We might be very familiar with the red poppy (Papaver rhoeas), a European native common in disturbed areas, or even the yellow Californian poppy (Escholzia californica), native to the USA. But we might not be so quick to recognize the prickly body of the White Prickly poppy (Argemone albiflora). This Texas native is a survivor, preferring to grow in disturbed and nutrient poor conditions. It can be seen on the roadside in many southern states and has a rose-pink variant in Southern Texas. An annual or biennial, it has delicate paper white flowers beloved by bees and butterflies but shunned by deer and cows. Probably because it is very prickly and toxic. It produces copius quantities of seeds and would possibly be a good candidate for restoration in very disturbed sites where people would not necessarily pass to close by. Given it’s deep root system I wonder if it would also be a candidate for phytoremediation?
I have these growing down in the field towards my creek…and I always just thought they were nettles of some sort and have feared them….and I still do, but not as much now that I know they are poppies.