Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red and white prickly poppies

with 19 comments

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In Austin we have white prickly poppies, Argemone albiflora, and only white. After I saw online that someone had photographed Argemone sanguinea, known as red or rose prickly poppies, along TX 97 between Pleasanton and Floresville, I purposely drove that route when I was in the area on March 21st and found them. You could say that I, too, was sanguine.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 27, 2019 at 4:41 AM

19 Responses

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  1. Well, look at that. I had no idea that red prickly poppies exist. When I looked at the USDA map, it became clear why I’ve not come across them, even though I’ve often been in Medina county. Their area of Texas is one I’ve not roamed until recently. I laughed at the date you mentioned. That’s the day I was exploring near Schulenburg. I suspect there were hundreds of photographers spread out across the state.

    That’s a beautiful photo. It was good of them to combine so evenly for you. That’s a nice red, too. It’s not quite so bold as the red oriental poppies, and it’s quite pleasing.


    March 27, 2019 at 6:56 AM

    • If I’d been aware of red prickly poppies, I’d forgotten about them till I saw a picture in the Texas Wildflowers group on Facebook. I saw a few yellow ones out near Big Bend years ago but this was my first encounter with the red. Given that we have red ones in the state, I wish Georgetown could have created its annual red poppy festival around the native ones rather than the Eurasian red ones.

      On March 21st I saw white prickly poppies in plenty of places south of San Antonio. I also saw some of the people you alluded to who were stopping to photograph flowers. In one case two women stopped on the same stretch of road where we’d already parked. One of them said they’d been looking for the perfect live oak surrounded by bluebonnets, and they’d finally found it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2019 at 7:32 AM

  2. I always think Poppy = Red, just as Poppy Seed = Bagel. Seeing white, pink, or yellow still comes as a bit of a surprise. This is a very pretty sight in your photo, nice spring bouquet.
    If they’re really prickly, a photographer might get exsanguinated.
    Exsanguination = Romania = land of vampires

    Robert Parker

    March 27, 2019 at 7:47 AM

    • By coincidence I have some bagels in the toaster oven as I write this, and I had a poppy-seed one yesterday. When I was growing up in New York, the home of bagels in America, I probably also thought all poppies are red. Had I grown up in Texas, I expect white would have come to mind first, if not exclusively. And all the poppies native to Texas (except for the very far west) are prickly, which some might say suits my personality and New York upbringing. Those prickles have sometimes gotten to me but I’m happy to say no exsanguination has ever come to me from that in this former nation (1836–1845) called Texas, where none of the bats are vampires.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 27, 2019 at 8:07 AM

  3. Beautiful!


    March 27, 2019 at 7:51 PM

  4. Beautifully captured. I love the use of a panorama format for this image.

    Otto von Münchow

    March 27, 2019 at 9:05 PM

    • I’m fond of showing a panorama every so often. In this case I did so partly because the flowers themselves lay mostly in a horizontal zone, and partly because there were distractions or uninteresting things in the parts that I cropped off from the upper and lower edges.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2019 at 5:42 AM

  5. As much as I like white, I still prefer the naturally bright orange California poppy. No others will do. The fried egg poppy is white with bright yellow staminate centers, but just does not cut it.


    March 28, 2019 at 11:20 PM

    • Guess it depends on what you’re used to. I’ve been consorting with the prickly whites for 20 years.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 28, 2019 at 11:24 PM

  6. White poppies? Haven’t seen or heard about them but they make a nice addition to the reds.I grew up seeing the VFW poppies which were always bright red so immediately expect that to be the color. Very nice pano.

    Steve Gingold

    April 2, 2019 at 4:45 PM

    • It’s a pano the cheap and easy way, by cropping rather than multiple exposures stitched together. With 50 megapixels per frame, I can afford to throw a bunch away.

      Anyone who grew up in central Texas would probably have white as the default color for poppies, so abundant are the white prickly poppies in this part of the world. The same person might also assume all poppies have prickles, as these do.

      I wonder if the red European poppies became popular here after World War I. Your mention of VFW would support that hypothesis.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2019 at 6:53 PM

  7. I’d be sanguine too if I saw these beauties blooming. I have big orange poppies I dug up from a construction site (with permission, of course) and even though they are in the shade they are a traffic stopper once they get going. Not sure what variety they are. For all I know they are opium poppies and one day I’ll be raided.


    April 9, 2019 at 8:38 AM

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