Argemone mexicana (Mexican poppy)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Impact: Biodiversity
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Argemone mexicana L. (1753)
Preferred Common Name
- Mexican poppy
International Common Names
- English: Mexican pricklepoppy; Mexican pricklypoppy; Mexican thistle; prickly poppy; yellow thistle
- Spanish: adormidera espinosa; cardo blanco; chicalote
- French: argémone du Mexique; argemone mexicaine; pavot epineux
- Portuguese: papoula-do-Mexico
Local Common Names
- Argentina: cardo amarillo
- Bangladesh: Shialkata
- Brazil: cardo-amarelo; cardo-santa; cardo-santa-maria; figo-do-inferno; papoula-de-espinho; papoula-espinhosa
- Germany: Mexikanischer Stachelmohn
- Haiti: chardon béni
- India: agara; bharband; bharbhar; brahamadandi; bramandandu; kantakusama; katelisatyanasi; satyonasi
- Indonesia: droedjoe; tjelangkringan
- Italy: papavero messicano
- Japan: Azami-Geshi
- Kenya: ekijembajembe; mkumajalaga
- Mauritius: chardon du pays
- Mexico: chicalote
- Myanmar: kye-ja
- Netherlands: stekelpapaver
- Niger: Boginahi; Dàyí gííwáá; Hákóórín kádà; Káákí rúwàn Allàh; Kàankámárkà tà bíí kà; kamukamu; Kánkààmáá; Karanko; Kùùrár fataakee; Kwarakko; Kwaranko; Wagiri; Wasiri
- Nigeria: Boginahi; Dàyí gííwáá; Hákóórín kádà; Káákí rúwàn Allàh; Kàankámárkà tà bíí kà; kamukamu; Kánkààmáá; Karanko; Kùùrár fataakee; Kwarakko; Kwaranko; Wagiri; Wasiri
- Pakistan: kanderi; kundiari; sialkanta
- Paraguay: Cardo santo
- Puerto Rico: cardosanto
- South Africa: yellow-flowered Mexican poppy
- Zimbabwe: umjelemani
- ARGME (Argemone mexicana)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page A. mexicana is a widespread annual weed primarily associated with agricultural crops and wastelands. It is a major weed of a number of crops in the tropics and warm temperate regions and is persistent as it produces a seed bank. In India in particular, the species is a health hazard and because of its prickliness, is a nuisance to subsistence farmers.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Papaverales
- Family: Papaveraceae
- Genus: Argemone
- Species: Argemone mexicana
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page Argemone is from the Greek argena, meaning 'cataract of the eye', and was the name used in the first century AD by the classical authors Dioscorides (AD 40-90) and Pliny (AD 23-79) for some spiny poppies, the juice of which was supposedly a cure for cataract; mexicana combines Mexico with the Latin suffix ana, belonging to, suggesting the country of origin (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).
DescriptionTop of page A. mexicana is an annual herb, up to 150 cm tall with a slightly branched tap root. The stem is erect, branched, usually prickly, pale bluish-green and exudes an unpleasant-smelling yellow sap when cut. Leaves are alternate, without petioles, more or less sheathing the stem, up to 15 cm long, deeply lobed with irregularly toothed, spiny margins; greyish-white veins are conspicuous on the bluish-green upper surface of the leaves. Flowers are solitary, 2.5-4.5 cm in diameter, subtended by 1-2 leafy bracts; sepals 3, prickly; petals 4-6, yellow to pale orange, glabrous; stamens numerous. Fruit is a capsule, spiny, 2.5-5 cm long and 2 cm wide, with 4-6 valves opening at the tip to release numerous seeds. Seeds are brownish-black, nearly spherical, about 1 mm in diameter, covered in a fine network of veins, oily.
A. mexicana forma leiocarpa is a form found in West Africa which has few or no prickles on the stem, leaves and capsule (Lucas, 1962).
Plant TypeTop of page Annual
DistributionTop of page A. mexicana is native to tropical America but its native range is a matter of debate. It is thought that its natural distribution in Northern America included Mexico and southern Florida (Ownbey, 1997). It is probably native to much of South America but Mayworm et al. (1998) have stated that A. mexicana is an introduced and naturalized species in Brazil. Its distribution and status in tropical and warm regions of the world are likely to be seriously under-reported. As the species has probably often been confused with A. ochroleuca and even A. subfusiformis, its world distribution and abundance must be viewed with some caution. In Europe it was reported as being present in Bulgaria and Spain by Mowat (1964) but Greuter et al. (1989) stated that it was absent and reported in error.
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Bahrain||Present||Introduced||Miller and Cope, 1996|
|Bangladesh||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Holm et al., 1979; Islam et al., 2003|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Hong Kong||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||DEH, 2002|
|India||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Andhra Pradesh||Present||Introduced||Chitra et al., 1997|
|-Bihar||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Singh et al., 1999|
|-Chandigarh||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Ramakrishnan and Gupta, 1972|
|-Gujarat||Present||Introduced||Patel et al., 1993|
|-Karnataka||Present||Introduced||Invasive||von Weizsõckerl, 1995|
|-Madhya Pradesh||Present||Introduced||Paradkar et al., 1989|
|-Maharashtra||Present||Introduced||Katole and Mundiwale, 1995|
|-Tamil Nadu||Present||Introduced||Shanmughave, 1995|
|-Uttar Pradesh||Present||Introduced||Shah et al., 1992|
|Indonesia||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1992; Moody, 1989|
|Israel||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Greuter et al., 1989|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Wu et al., 2004|
|-Ryukyu Archipelago||Indigenous, localized||Introduced||Not invasive||Walker, 1976|
|Nepal||Present||Introduced||Ranjit and Bhattarai, 1988|
|Oman||Present||Introduced||Miller and Cope, 1996|
|Pakistan||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979; Mahmood, 1987|
|Saudi Arabia||Present||Introduced||Abdel Hafez, 1985|
|Syria||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Greuter et al., 1989|
|Yemen||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Miller and Cope, 1996|
|Botswana||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Phillips, 1991; Karikari et al., 2000|
|Egypt||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Boulos and El-Hadidi, 1984; Greuter et al., 1989|
|Ethiopia||Present||Introduced||Stroud and Parker, 1989; Karlsson et al., 2003|
|Ghana||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1989|
|Kenya||Present||Introduced||Terry and Michieka, 1987|
|Madagascar||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Malawi||Present||Introduced||Banda and Morris, 1986|
|Mauritius||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Vaughan and Wiehe, 1937; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|Saint Helena||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Ashmole and Ashmole, 2000|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Exell, 1944|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Henderson and Anderson, 1966|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Introduced||de Lorenzo Caceres, unda|
|Swaziland||Present||Introduced||Wells et al., 1986|
|Tanzania||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Terry and Michieka, 1987; Katagira, 2002|
|Uganda||Present||Terry and Michieka, 1987|
|Zambia||Present||Introduced||Terry and Michieka, 1987|
|Zimbabwe||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Exell, 1960; Hyde and Wursten, 2002|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|Mexico||Present||Native||Holm et al., 1979|
|USA||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|-Kansas||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Ownbey, unda; Hitchcock and Clothier, 1898|
|-Louisiana||Present||Ownbey, unda; Pammel, 1913; Brown, 1972|
|-New Jersey||Present||Introduced||Ownbey, 1997|
|-New York||Present||Introduced||Ownbey, 1997|
|-North Carolina||Present||Introduced||Ownbey, 1997|
|-South Carolina||Present||Introduced||Ownbey, 1997|
Central America and Caribbean
|Belize||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Cuba||Widespread||Introduced||Invasive||Seifriz, 1943; Holm et al., 1979; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012|
|Dominica||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Jamaica||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Nicaragua||Widespread||Native||Holm et al., 1979; Alemán, 2001|
|Puerto Rico||Widespread||Native||Barnés, 1946; Holm et al., 1979|
|Argentina||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Brazil||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Mato Grosso||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|-Minas Gerais||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|-Rio Grande do Norte||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||Lorenzi, 1982|
|Chile||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Ecuador||Indigenous, localized||Introduced||Tye, 1999|
|French Guiana||Present||Native||DeFilipps et al., 2004|
|Paraguay||Present||Native||Schvartzman and Santander, 1996|
|Peru||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Uruguay||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Venezuela||Present||Holm et al., 1979|
|Czech Republic||Absent, formerly present||Introduced||Not invasive||Pysek et al., 1989|
|France||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Greuter et al., 1989|
|Italy||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Greuter et al., 1989|
|Portugal||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||de Lorenzo Caceres, unda|
|-Balearic Islands||Present||Introduced||de Lorenzo Caceres, unda|
|Australia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Australian Northern Territory||Present||Introduced||Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|-New South Wales||Present||Introduced||Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|-Queensland||Present||Introduced||Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|-South Australia||Present||Introduced||Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|-Victoria||Present||Introduced||Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|-Western Australia||Present||Introduced||Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992|
|Fiji||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|New Caledonia||Present||Introduced||Waterhouse, 1997|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Niue||Present||Introduced||Space and Flynn, 2000|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page A. mexicana has been introduced accidentally (seed contaminant) or as an ornamental. Little is known about the history of its introduction and spread around the world. By 1814 it was the commonest weed of St Helena and was first recorded on Ascension in 1828 (Ashmole and Ashmole, 2000). In New Zealand, it was accidentally introduced with imported wheat in the 1890s (Healy, 1961). The plant was introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental and was first recorded in 1934 (Wester, 1992). Tye (1999) reported that the plant was still relatively uncommon and suspected that it may become problematic in the future. In the Czech Republic, it was first reported occurrence in the wild in 1965 but appears to have become extinct (Pysek et al., 2002).
Risk of IntroductionTop of page Seeds of A. mexicana and closely related species can be readily dispersed via contaminated seeds and soil. Being still considered as a desirable ornamental in parts of the world it is likely to be further introduced within regions where its distribution is still restricted. In South Africa the seeds of A. mexicana have been declared as 'noxious' as its seeds or bits of seeds may represent a hazard to human or animal health when consumed (NDA, 2001).
HabitatTop of page A. mexicana is adapted to a wide range of habitats, including humid and semi-arid areas and a wide range of soil types. It occurs as a weed of arable land, pastures and in waste places, roadsides and fence rows. In Cuba the plant was found to be typical of hygrophilous meadows (Seifriz, 1943). In East Africa it is reported in grasslands and savannas (Lyons, 2000). It is known from sea level to elevations of 2900 m in Tanzania (Holm et al., 1977).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural grasslands||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page A. mexicana is a weed of most cropping systems, including large- and small-grain cereals, legumes, vegetables, fibre crops (cotton, sisal) and perennial crops (coffee, sugarcane). It appears that any crop has the potential to be infested with A. mexicana if grown within the habitat range of this weed.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Agave sisalana (sisal hemp)||Agavaceae||Other|
|Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Medicago sativa (lucerne)||Fabaceae||Other|
|Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)||Poaceae||Other|
|Solanum tuberosum (potato)||Solanaceae||Other|
|Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)||Poaceae||Main|
|Triticum aestivum (wheat)||Poaceae||Main|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Biology and EcologyTop of page Genetics
A. mexicana is a diploid species, 2n=28. A. ochroleuca is a tetraploid (2n=56). The occurrence of 5% of triploids (2n=42) in a population of A. ochroleuca suggest the possibility of a natural hybridization between these genetically close species (Chaturvedi et al., 1999).
Physiology and phenology
A. mexicana is a long-blooming plant. In the Temperate Zone flowering occurs in summer-autumn. In southern India (Western Ghats) the plant flowers and fruits through the year (Matthew, 1999).
The physiology of seed production and germination varies throughout the world. Mauritius reports the greatest seed production with an average of 60 to 90 capsules per plant with 300 to 400 seeds in each capsule (Holm et al., 1977). Seeds are dormant when shed and have an after-ripening period of several weeks or months. In eastern Africa and Australia, seeds germinate at any time of year if moisture is available but, in Mauritius, germination only occurs in the cooler months (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). In India also, it has been noted that germination occurs late in the season, with low night temperatures (Ambasht, 1992). Most seeds fall around the base of the parent plant where they form a carpet of seedlings. Dispersal occurs in surface water and in mud adhering to farm machinery and the feet of man and livestock. Seeds are readily eaten by a number of bird species in Puerto Rico as indicated by the presence of many seeds of the species in birds' stomachs (Barnés, 1946). In Ethiopia, most seeds do not normally germinate the year after shedding. Instead they enter the seed bank and seedlings establish, even in well-maintained field, probably for many years (Karlsson et al., 2003).
It tends to grow best in soils of low fertility and, in Australia, is peculiarly adapted to colonise derelict areas low in phosphorus (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). A. mexicana is better suited to grow at sites deficient in nitrogen whereas the closely related A. ochroleuca does better where phosphorus is limiting (Ramakrishnan and Gupta, 1972). However, neither species appear to have obvious restriction to particular agronomic or environmental situations (Karlsson et al., 2003). In southern India it occurs up to an altitude of 800 m a.s.l. (Matthew, 1999). When growing in undisturbed land, it can produce fresh weights of 6-9 t/ha but, in cultivated land, it is generally not an aggressive competitor (Holm et al., 1977).
In India grazing effects forest vegetation structure. It reduces grass cover and leads to the appearance of unpalatable species, including A. mexicana (Shanmughave, 1995).
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page A bacterial wilt, Xanthomonas papavericola [X. campestris pv. papavericola], periodically checks the growth of A. mexicana, in some areas (Holm et al., 1977) but there is a dearth of information on natural enemies of this weed.
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds||Yes|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page Economic impact
A. mexicana is a principal weed of beans and maize in Tanzania, cereals in Australia and India, cotton in Nicaragua, potatoes in India, tobacco in Argentina and Puerto Rico, and wheat in Pakistan (Holm et al., 1977). In Bangladesh, it grows in wheat, sugarcane, potato, pulses and tea fields (Islam et al., 2003). In Florida, USA, it is reported as a weed in tomato crops (Johnson, 1997) and Vaughan and Wiehe (1937) stated that it was frequent in cane fields in Mauritius. A. mexicana is one of the main weeds associated with common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) in Nicaragua (Alemán, 2001). In the late 19th century the plant was not be considered as a bad weed in Kansas, USA (Hitchcock and Clothier, 1898). A. mexicana has an inhibitory effect on germination and seedling growth of vegetables (Hazarika and Sannigrahi, 2001) and weed residues may affect Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) growth and development because of the inhibitory effects of allelochemicals present (Karikari et al. 2000).
In poultry, one ounce of seed causes symptoms (e.g. decreased egg production), and 2 ounces usually cause death (Everest et al., unda). Grazing animals generally avoid this weed but can be poisoned if it is consumed in hay or chaff. The value of wool is decreased when contaminated by the prickly fruits of A. mexicana (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Harvesting by hand of low-growing field crops can be a painful experience in the presence A. mexicana and hired labour may expect to be paid a premium in these conditions.
Impact: BiodiversityTop of page To-date little is known about the impact of A. argemone on biodiversity. Islam et al. (2003) has ascertained that the species reduces plant diversity, and Kumar and Rohatgi (1999) postulated that it decreases biodiversity in India. In Tanzania the plant is commonly found in the Lake Manyara National Park (Lyons, 2000).
Social ImpactTop of page A. mexicana has had a major impact on human health in the Indian subcontinent. Edible vegetable oil either accidentally contaminated with A. mexicana or intentionally adulterated by unscrupulous traders has resulted in epidemic dropsy. Such an epidemic occurred in 1998 in Delhi (India) and epidemic dropsy has also been reported from Nepal (Jha et al., 2001; Sharma et al., 2002). Sharma et al. (1999) have provided an review of the clinical effects of adulterated oil and suggested preventive measures. An epidemic occurred in South Africa following the contamination of wheat flour (Sharma et al., 1999). In northern and central India, A. mexicana has been identified as an important allergen (Singh and Kumar, 2004). Subsistence farmers in the Ethiopian Highlands find this prickly plant difficult to manage in cereal fields.
Extracts of A. mexicana readily kill the snail Biomphalaria glabrata and thus have potential as a molluscide for the relatively cheap control of human schistosomiasis (Melendez and Capriles, 2002).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Produces spines, thorns or burrs
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page Extracts of the leaves, flowers and seeds of A. mexicana have been tested, mostly under laboratory conditions in India, against insect pests (Chitra et al., 1997), crop pathogens (Singh et al., 1993) and nematodes (Das and Sukul, 1988; Saxena and Tabassum, 2000; Shaukat et al., 2002). Aqueous extracts have been tested with success against tropical hen louse, Lipeurus lawrensis tropicalis (Kumar et al. 2002). Although control or suppression of these pests has been found, there is little evidence for the widespread practical exploitation of these findings. Von Weizsäckerl (1995) reported that it is used in parts of India to prepare antifeedant sprays in the same way as is done with leaves of Azadirachta indica.
Medicinal properties have been attributed to the sap and oil from the seed (Holm et al., 1977). In the Guianas the whole plant is used as an infusion against asthma. The root is taken in rum and cognac for stomach pain. Sap from the cut end of the stem is applied to cavities as a treatment for toothache. Children having difficulty with urination are given infusions of petals (DeFilipps et al., 2004). In India (Madhya Pradesh) it is reported to be a homeopathic drug (Oudhia et al., 1998). In West Africa it is used as a cosmetic, i.e. a washing milk (Rukangira, 2001).
In East Africa, the seeds are ground and put into beer or tea to increase their potency and cause drunkenness (Verdcourt and Trump, 1969).
In India, A. mexicana seeds are added to mustard oil in very small quantities, to increase its pungency. However, recently in New Delhi, over 60 deaths have been attributed to adulteration of mustard oil with larger quantities of A. mexicana, as a means of reducing costs (The Indian Society of Weed Science, 1998).
Uses ListTop of page
Human food and beverage
- Beverage base
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page A. albiflora has white flowers, 10-15 cm in diameter. A weed of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, USA (Brown, 1972).
A. corymbosa is a weed native to California, USA (Goeden and Ricker, 1985).
A. intermedia has white or pinkish flowers, 5-8 cm in diameter. Plant densely covered with short yellowish hairs. Arizona, USA (Parker, 1972).
A. ochroleuca ssp. ochroleuca is a weed of Australia. It has a basal rosette of leaves which are light green and mottled white (Auld and Medd, 1987).
A. ochroleuca (A. mexicana forma ochroleuca) has creamy white to yellow petals, an ellipsoid capsule narrowed at both ends, seeds approximately 1.5 mm in diameter. Ownbey (1997) differentiates it from A. mexicana on the basis of differences in flower bud shape and petal colour. A. ochroleuca is recorded as a weed from Australia (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992), Ethiopia (Karlsson et al., 2003), India (Ramakrishnan and Gupta, 1972) and South Africa (Milton and Dean, 1998). Chaturvedi et al. (1999) have suggested that it can naturally hybridize with A. mexicana. In Zimbabwe, these two species are viewed as colour forms of one species A. mexicana (Hyde and Wursten, 2002).
A. polyanthemos has white or lavender flowers and prickles on the lower surface of the leaves. It is a weed of pastures in the Great Plains of the USA (Davis, 1993).
A. squarrosa is a perennial with prickles on both sides of the leaves. It is a weed of pastures and rangeland in the Great Plains of the USA (Davis, 1993).
A. subfusiformis is closely related to A. ochroleuca and is found in Australia (New South Wales and South Australia) (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). It has cream to pale yellow petals, capsule slenderly spindle-shaped and seed approximately 2 mm in diameter. A subspecies, A. subfusiformis ssp. subfusiformis, with deep yellow flowers also occurs as a weed in Australia (Auld and Medd, 1987).
Other Argemone species occurring in California, USA include A. minuta (Goeden and Ricker, 1985) and A. platyceras (Robbins et al., 1951).
Hosking et al. (2000) have pointed out that A. mexicana, A. ochroleuca, and A. subfusiformis have been confused in the past and at present, and are often incorrectly identified.
Prevention and ControlTop of page Chemical control
Plants of A. mexicana should be destroyed or removed before they produce seeds. Seedlings are readily controlled by light tillage. Long cultivated fallow or vigorous perennial pastures will control large infestations (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Herbicides which control A. mexicana include 2,4-D, 2,4-DB, dicamba, diuron, fluroxypyr, hexazinone, isoproturon, karbutilate, MCPA, metribuzin, oxadiazon, picloram and terbutryn.
A biological control programme of A. mexicana and of the closely related A. ochroleuca has been initiated in Australia. This native of Mexico is naturalized in most warm countries of the world in sub-humid as well as semiarid regions. This project sought natural enemies in Mexico and identified several predatory insects including an extremely damaging species of root-breeding and leaf-feeding weevil (CSIRO, 1999; Julien, 2002).
ReferencesTop of page
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