Argemone mexicana - L.
Common Name Prickly Poppy, Mexican pricklypoppy
Family Papaveraceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards All parts of the plant, including the seed, contain toxic alkaloids[175].
Habitats Dry soils along roadsides and in waste places and fields[72, 192].
Range South-western N. America. Naturalized in C. and S. Europe[50].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

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A hardy pioneering poppy species with yellow flowers from Mexico and now widely naturalized in many parts of the world. Some very useful medicinal qualities and some suggestions that the leaves can be eaten. The seed oil is used for lighting and soap and potentially may be a Biodiesel. Common Names: Mexican pricklepoppy; Mexican pricklypoppy; Mexican thistle; prickly poppy; yellow thistle. Spanish: adormidera espinosa; cardo blanco; chicalote. French: argémone du Mexique; argemone mexicaine; pavot epineux. Portuguese: papoula-do-Mexico. Argentina: cardo amarillo. Bangladesh: Shialkata. Brazil: cardo-amarelo; cardo-santa; cardo-santa-maria; figo-do-inferno; papoula-de-espinho; papoula-espinhosa. Germany: Mexikanischer Stachelmohn. Haiti: chardon béni. India: agara; bharband; bharbhar; brahamadandi; bramandandu; kantakusama; katelisatyanasi; satyonasi. Indonesia: droedjoe; tjelangkringan. Italy: papavero messicano. Japan: Azami-Geshi. Kenya: ekijembajembe; mkumajalaga. Mauritius: chardon du pays. Mexico: chicalote. Myanmar: kye-ja. Netherlands: stekelpapaver. Niger: Boginahi; Dàyí gííwáá; Hákóórín kádà; Káákí rúwàn Allàh; Kàankámárkà tà bíí kà; kamukamu; Kánkààmáá; Karanko; Kùùrár fataakee; Kwarakko; Kwaranko; Wagiri; Wasiri. Nigeria: Boginahi; Dàyí gííwáá; Hákóórín kádà; Káákí rúwàn Allàh; Kàankámárkà tà bíí kà; kamukamu; Kánkààmáá; Karanko; Kùùrár fataakee; Kwarakko; Kwaranko; Wagiri; Wasiri. Pakistan: kanderi; kundiari; sialkanta. Paraguay: Cardo santo. Puerto Rico: cardosanto. South Africa: yellow-flowered Mexican poppy. Zimbabwe: umjelemani.

Argemone mexicana Prickly Poppy, Mexican pricklypoppy
Argemone mexicana Prickly Poppy, Mexican pricklypoppy
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Argemone mexicana is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

A. ochroleuca.

 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Leaves[177] No further details are given but caution is advised, see the notes on toxicity at the top of the page.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Alterative;  Analgesic;  Antispasmodic;  Antitussive;  Demulcent;  Emetic;  Expectorant;  Hallucinogenic;  
Purgative;  Sedative;  Skin;  Warts.

The whole plant is analgesic, antispasmodic, possibly hallucinogenic and sedative[46, 61, 178, 181, 192, 254]. It contains alkaloids similar to those in the opium poppy (P. somniferum) and so can be used as a mild pain-killer[254]. The fresh yellow, milky, acrid sap contains protein-dissolving substances and has been used in the treatment of warts, cold sores, cutaneous affections, skin diseases, itches etc[207, 243, 254]. It has also been used to treat cataracts[254] and has been taken internally in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice[240, 243]. The root is alterative and has been used in the treatment of chronic skin diseases[240, 243]. The flowers are expectorant and have been used in the treatment of coughs and other chest complaints[254]. The seed is demulcent, emetic, expectorant and laxative[240, 243]. An infusion, in small quantities, is used as a sedative for children, but caution is advised since the oil in the seed is strongly purgative[254]. The seed has also been used as an antidote to snake poisoning[240, 243]. The pounded seeds, mixed with mustard oil, are applied externally to treat itchy skin[272]. The oil from the seed is demulcent and purgative[254, 272]. It has been used externally in the treatment of skin problems[240, 243, 272]. Caution is advised in the use of this oil, prolonged ingestion produces toxic effects resembling those occurring in epidemic dropsy[240].


Other Uses
Essential;  Oil.

A semi-drying oil is obtained from the seed, used for lighting, soap etc[46, 61, 103, 171, 272]. A medicinal fixed oil (essential oil?) is obtained from the seed[178]. Biodiesel production may be possible from the seed oil using crystalline manganese carbonate.
Cultivation details
Easily grown in a light soil in a sunny position[1, 134, 166]. Does best in a poor well-drained soil[134]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]. Usually grown as a hardy annual in Britain[1]. It resents being transplanted and should be sown in situ[134].
Seed - sow April in situ[200]. The seed usually germinates in 3 - 4 weeks at 15°c[134].
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. A widespread annual weed to agricultural crops and wastelands especially tropics and warm temperate regions.
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Argemone albifloraWhite Prickly Poppy, Bluestem pricklypoppy01
Papaver argemonePrickly Poppy, Long pricklyhead poppy01


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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
MOHAMMED E.KHIDER   Wed Apr 13 18:19:56 2005
khider,M.T.(2002).Toxicity of argemone mexicana seeds to poultry,M.V.Sc. thesis. University of Khartoum ,Sudan. details on other pages.

Link: - Toxicity of argemone mexicana seeds to poultry.

sandip gangurde   Mon Dec 10 2007
i am student of b pharm of india , i want to just know about, how toxic effectscan be inhibited on living being of its doage form.
Dinesh   Thu Apr 17 2008
what about the toxicity of argemone mexicana, its lethal dose and fetal period?
ethno   Tue Nov 25 2008
hello! if you search seeds, there are in ethnoplants

Ethnoplants Argemone mexicana seeds

anuj sharma   Wed Nov 26 2008
its nice to get knowledge about the argemone mexicana and this is an very good web site which help me a lot. thank you very much.
   May 17 2014 12:00AM
"Seeds of a Cure" by Brendan Borrell. Scientific American, June 2014. Pages 49-53. Discusses use of Argemone mexicana to treat malaria. Trial in Mali in 2010 proved 89% of patients recovered, vs 95 percent taking Artemisinin-combination therapies (ACT).
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Subject : Argemone mexicana  

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