Alien Invasives

White-flowered Mexican Poppy (Argemone ochroleuca subsp. ochroleuca)


06 October 2016

White-flowered Mexican Poppy (Argemone ochroleuca subsp. ochroleuca)

This plant is very similar to the Yellow-flowered Mexican Poppy and can be easily confused. The White-flowered Mexican Poppy is an extremely spiny, herbaceous annual that can grow up to 90cm high. The stems exude a yellow sap when cut. Leaves are grey or bluish-green and spiny with prominent white veins. Pale yellow or creamy white flowers appear from September to January followed by spiny, egg-shaped green fruit capsules that turn brown and release numerous small black seeds. The sap and spines are poisonous and can cause skin irritation.

Other names
Devil’s Fig, Texas Poppy (English)
Witblombloudissels (Afrikaans)
ugudluthukela (isiZulu)
Invasive status
NEMBA Category 1b
CARA 2002 Category 1

White-flowered Mexican Poppy
Originally from
Where is it a problem?
Throughout South Africa
How does it spread?
Seed dispersal
Why is it a problem?
It is prolific in disturbed sites and competes with agricultural crops and indigenous species. This plant contaminates crop seed. Spiny fruits and leaf tips can adhere to the wool of sheep. The seeds are poisonous to humans and livestock.

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