Common Names: Mexican Poppy,
Habit: Argemone mexicana
grows an herbaceous annual-biennial to less than 1 m in height. The
entire plant is covered with stiff sharp prickles. The leaves are
arranged alternately, are sessile on the stems, and up to 20 cm in
length. The leaf is sinuate and lobed, with a spiny margin, and has
whitish venation. The vegetative parts produce a yellowish sap.
The flowers are arranged solitarily and
subtended by bracts. The calyx has 3 greenish sepals each tipped with
a spine. There are 6 bright yellow petals in the corolla. There are
numerous stamens and a superior ovary with a single locule. The fruit
is a poricidal capsule that is covered with spines.
Habitat: Argemone mexicana
grows in human disturbed areas such as old fields and roadsides.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally:
Argemone mexicana occurs throughout all the island groups of
the Bahamian Archipelago as well as the southern United States, the
entire Caribbean region, and Central and South America. It is also
known to occur in Bermuda as well as becoming naturalized as a weedy
species throughout the Africa and Asia.
Argemone mexicana has been used in the Bahamas to treat a wide
variety of diseases including respiratory problems (asthma, coughing,
hiccups) as well as blood related diseases (hepatitis, jaundice, and
high blood pressure), ringworm, and to remove warts.
Oils can be extracted from the seeds
and roots and have been used for lighting. Extracts can also be used
as a pesticide.
In general extracts from Argemone
mexicana are considered poisonous and care should be taken when