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Long prickly-headed poppy - Papaver argemone



"Papaver argemone is a ANNUAL growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in)."
"It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, self.The plant is self-fertile."[PFAF]
"Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil."[PFAF]

General: "Annual herb from a short taproot; stems ascending to erect, simple or more usually branched, stiff-hairy, 15-50 cm tall."[IFBC-E-flora]
Leaves: "Basal leaves numerous, oblanceolate, divided into 2-3 pairs of primary lateral lobes which are again divided, long-stalked, stiff-hairy, 8-15 cm long; stem leaves similar, not much reduced above." [IFBC-E-flora]
Flowers: "Inflorescence of solitary, terminal, erect flowers; buds nodding; flower stalks stiff-hairy; petals 4, dark red, often with a dark basal spot, egg-shaped, 1.5-2.2 cm long." [IFBC-E-flora]
Fruits: "Capsules, oblong to club-shaped, bristly-hairy, distinctly ribbed, 1.5-2 cm long." [IFBC-E-flora]
Habitat / Range "Mesic to dry waste places in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC, known only from the Saanich Peninsula and Vancouver area; introduced from Europe." [IFBC-E-flora] "A common weed of light soils in the south of Britain, becoming rare in the north[17]. Central and southern Europe, including Britain." [PFAF]
Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]


This plant is toxic to mammals, though the toxicity is low[76]. The seed is not toxic[76]. [PFAF]

Food Use

Medicinal Uses


Protoberberine Alkaloids

  • Coptisine [Alk62]
  • Cryptopine [Alk62]
  • Protopine [Alk62]
  • Scoulerine [Alk62]

"P. argemone subsp. davisii and P. Clavatum, which are both endemic to Turkey, have been found relatively low in their alkaloid contents." [Unsal,2009]



"Prefers a well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position[1, 200]. Does not do well on wet clay soils but succeeds in most other soils[115]. Plants usually self-sow freely when growing in suitable conditions so long as the soil surface is disturbed[238]. When growing in cereal fields, poppies decrease the yields of nearby cereal plants[18, 20]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]."[PFAF]


"Seed - sow spring in situ[200]."[PFAF]


The information presented on this site is provided for educational purposes. Self diagnosis and treatment, without due diligence, could be harmful and is not encouraged. Some information & images may be copyright. Every effort has been made to present the information in the spirit with which it was originally presented. Some data has been omitted for legal and/or practical consideration. There is some data not covered in the scope of this project, including, but not limited to, cell culture and large-dose animal studies. I have made comparisons and links between related species which may later prove erroneous. I have not verified the information for accuracy and I accept no responsibility for its authenticity. Many of the plants presented are poisonous, have poisonous properties, or could cause illness through misuse, allergic reaction, drug interactions and environmental contaminants. Please use caution and mindfulness when harvesting plants for any use.

Page last modified on 15-10-2016