Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Developing leaves of a white prickly poppy

with 24 comments

White Prickly Poppy Leaves Developing 0906

Argemone albiflora is the only poppy native to central Texas. Not for nothing is the plant known as a white prickly poppy, as you can tell from this downward view of fractal-like young leaves in Great Hills Park on the still-wet morning of April 14.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 13, 2016 at 5:17 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Making contact with those fractal like leaves would make me fractious.


    May 13, 2016 at 6:44 AM

    • Fractious strikes me as okay, but I wouldn’t want the integrity of your skin to get fractured. In this case it’s best not to commit any infractions against the adage “Look but do not touch.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 13, 2016 at 6:51 AM

      • I agree. I will keep my distance; it’s easily done!


        May 13, 2016 at 6:53 AM

        • From 12000 km away that’s an easy promise to keep. I’d say there’s not much chance of your running into a white prickly poppy in New Zealand. On the other hand, in 2005 I found some Texas lantana growing wild on the east coast of Australia, so you never know.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 13, 2016 at 7:00 AM

  2. As beautiful as the poppy flowers are, these leaves are equally beautiful. I especially like the slightly unusual gray-green. Sometimes the shades of green nature provides seem uncountable. I see you captured some droplets of water here, too. A capture of a plant’s capture, so to speak.


    May 13, 2016 at 7:42 AM

  3. I’ve had a few up close and personals with prickly plants…the worst being a stinging nettle…and this one looks formidable as well. When I see defense mechanisms in nature, I am always amazed at the variety of the strategies for survival. Most are beyond our imaginations, although sharp little pricklers seems a bit obvious.

    Steve Gingold

    May 14, 2016 at 12:30 PM

    • At least these prickles are a strictly physical menace. By contrast, those of bull nettle—a plant that also has white flowers—are little hypodermic needles, hollow and filled with chemicals that cause intense stinging. Fortunately I’m just repeating what I’ve read; so far I’ve managed to avoid any direct contact with bull nettle (which isn’t botanically a nettle, but a member of the spurge family).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 14, 2016 at 10:52 PM

      • Your bull nettle is similar to our stinging nettle…which I have experienced. Not only are the stings painful, but they raise welts. Fortunately, the effect is not long-lived…just a warning, I guess.

        Steve Gingold

        May 15, 2016 at 2:47 AM

        • Sorry to hear you’ve experienced those stinging nettles. The pain and welts they produce sound as bad as the effects of bull nettle.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 15, 2016 at 8:12 AM

  4. Wowza!


    May 15, 2016 at 5:01 PM

  5. I am tremendously fascinated by this photo with its fine green color and insanely complicated structures. So beautiful!


    May 20, 2016 at 2:47 PM

    • I don’t know if the growth pattern here is fractal, but if it is, the mathematics is actually well understood and not too insanely complicated. Nevertheless, as you say, these leaves can’t help but fascinate us.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 20, 2016 at 3:20 PM

  6. Hi Steve
    Did you ever observe the Argemone mexicana? I recently found one. They gave it the epithet ‘Mexicana’ but it’s found pretty much all over, even here. It’s a small genus, and the leaves are fascinating, as this image well shows.


    February 12, 2018 at 7:29 AM

    • The USDA map shows it in a few Texas counties, including mine (Travis), but I’ve never found it here. I might have seen one once along the Rio Grande, but I can’t find any pictures of it in my photo archive. The USDA map accords with what you say, showing the species’ presence in a bunch of counties in Florida.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 12, 2018 at 8:01 AM

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