Chicalote or prickly poppy is a stout, prickly-stemmed annual
to perennial 2' to 5' tall with pale yellowish sap, and alternate lanceolate
to ovate leaves that are deeply-lobed, prickly, and at least in the
upper clasping at the base. The showy white flowers are up to
5" in diameter, the sepals densely spiny, the six petals ±
crinkled, with 150-250 stamens. The buds are prickly, and the lanceolate
fruit capsules are moderately spinescent and up to 2-1/4" long.
Prickly poppy grows in dry rocky areas to 6000' in chaparral,
on the north slope of the Transverse Range, and also in desert mountains,
blooming from June to August. This species has a very appropriate common name because
virtually every part of it is prickly. Its close relative, Argemone corymbosa, is fairly easily distinguishable because of its orange (not yellow) sap and because the leaves are equally prickly on both upper and lower surfaces. The name chicalote has
been applied to several Argemone species, most especially Argemone
mexicana in addition to this one. These pictures were taken on Mt. Baldy.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Argemone
Pronunciation: ar-JEM-on-ee mew-NY-ta.
Click here for Botanical