Yellow-flowered Mexican poppy

Argemone mexicana
Yellow-flowered Mexican poppy: Argemone Mexicana Yellow-flowered Mexican poppy: Argemone Mexicana

Common name:

Yellow-flowered Mexican poppy

Scientific name:

Argemone Mexicana (Papaveraceae)

Alternative common names:

Devil’s fig; Texas poppy (English); Geelblom; geelblombloudissel (Afrikaans); ugudluthukela (isiZulu)

Very spiny annual herb growing up to 90cm high with stems that exude a yellow sap when cut. Grey or bluish-green spiny leaves with prominent white veins. Bright yellow flowers appear from September to January. Spiny, egg-shaped green fruit capsules turn brown and release numerous small black seeds. Poisonous, sap and spines cause skin irritation. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Mexico

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    Existing legislation: CARA 2002 – Category 1 NEMBA – Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    KwaZulu-Natal and the lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces.

    How does it spread?

    Dispersal of small black seeds.

    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.

    What does it look like?

    General description: A thorny herb up to one metre high with light green spiny leaves. Leaves: Grey or bluish-green spiny leaves with prominent white veins. Flowers: Bright yellow flowers from September to January. Fruit/seeds: Spiny, egg-shaped green fruit capsules which turn brown and release numerous small black seeds which are poisonous to humans and livestock.

    Does the plant have any uses?

    No, this plant is a noxious weed.