Prickly Poppies (Argemone sp.) are beautiful little plants that are found throughout the Basin and Range Region. You can often see these plants when driving as they tend to grow along roadsides. They like sandy or gravelly flats in the sagebrush steppe and can be found up to around 9,000 ft in elevation.
Prickly Poppies have large, white, showy flowers that remind me of tissue paper. The flowers tend to be between 3-5 inches in diameter and have a yellow center which is a cluster of stamens. The pistil is dark maroon and sits high above the stamens--as seen in the pictures above.
The leaves are lobed and have silver prickles, giving the leaves somewhat grey in appearance. These plants also secrete a poisonous alkaloid from its steams. The alkaloid along with the prickles keep animals from using these plants for a snack.
Prickly poppies have a history of herbal use, an example of a historic use is that the seeds were made into a salve to treat burns and sores.
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The Basin and Range Project
We love the Basin and Range region and work to promote appreciation and respect for the area. We encourage all users to learn about, play in and protect this amazing resource.
We currently focus primarily on issues in the Nevada region of the Basin and Range, but are looking to expand soon.