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Healthy Harvesters

White Prickly Poppy - Seed Packet

White Prickly Poppy - Seed Packet

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Argemone albiflora

The white prickly poppy, also known as the bluestem prickly poppy or the Texas prickly poppy, is a small erect plant with a decorative white flower that contains yellow latex. The plant is deeply rooted with yellow or red stamens and known for its sharp prickles on its stems and leaves. As the flower grows more prominent, the sepals fall off. It typically grows in colonies in sandy or gravelly soils along fences, roadsides, railroad tracks, hills and slopes, and overgrazed pastures in the arid regions of the southern Midwest.

The plant has grayish-green, long leaves that are lanceolate to ovate and can range from 2 to 10 inches long. The lower leaves are lobed to the midrib, while the upper leaves are less so. The upper surface of the leaf is smooth, although it has a few prickles along the midrib, while the lower surface of the leaf is spiny along the midrib and central vein. The flowers grow solitarily or in loose cymes at the top of the plant.

Native Americans have long revered this plant for its medicinal and other uses. The plant exudes yellow latex, which treats many ailments, including cold sores, skin problems, bladder infections, prostate pain, and migraines. The seeds can also be used as an emetic to induce vomiting, as a laxative, or even as a mild sedative. The entire plant can be used to help heal sunburns or scraped skin. The plant is also smoked during important ceremonies to induce a euphoric and mild sedating effect. However, if not used properly, the plant can be very toxic.

The Aztec priests would use the plant in sacrificial rituals, while the Comanches would make offerings to it during harvesting as they held the plant in high regard. The latex was used to remove warts treat cold sores, and other skin problems. A concoction made from the flower could treat congestion from the cold or the flu.

Height: 2’-3’
Spread 1’-2’
Bloom: March-August
Light: Part Shade, Dappled Shade
Water: Low
Zone: 7, 8, 9
Origin: Texas

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