Cerastites macrocephalus Gray
Papaver argemone is a species of the genus Papaver. Its common names include long pricklyhead poppy, prickly poppy and pale poppy. Its native range includes parts of Eurasia and North Africa, and it is cultivated as an ornamental plant. It can be found growing wild in parts of North America, where it is an introduced species.
This annual herb grows up to 500 cm (200 in), Its 15–50 cm (5.9–19.7 in) long, branching stems are coated in stiff prickly hairs. The fern-like green, leaves at the base of the plant have stalks, but upper leaves are stalk-less. They can be up to 20 cm (7.9 in) long, It blooms in spring to summer, between May and July. The flowers are 4, slightly overlapping red petals, around a dark base. They can measure 2–5.5 cm (0.79–2.17 in) across, with pale blue anthers and 4-6 stigmas. Later, the plant produces a seed capsule, oblong to clavate (clubbed like) shaped with ribs and up to 2 cm long.
The Latin specific epithet argemone is derived from the Greek 'argema' meaning cataract, and was applied by Dioscorides to a poppy-like plant used to treat cataracts. See Argemone (a genus of flowering plants in the family Papaveraceae commonly known as 'prickly poppies').
P. argemone was verified by United States Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service on 10 May 1996, then updated on 27 May 2004, and is an accepted name by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Distribution and habitat
It is found in North Africa, within Macaronesia, Canary Islands, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco. Within Western Asia it is found in the Caucasus, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt (in the Sinai), Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. In eastern Europe, it is found within Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine. In middle Europe, it is in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland. In northern Europe, in Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and United Kingdom. In southeastern Europe, within Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Also in southwestern Europe, it is found in France, Portugal and Spain.
In the past, the pale poppy was used in herbal medicines.
The petal of the poppy, was once used in folklore, as a test of faithfulness. A petal was placed in the palm of the loved ones hand and if when stuck with a fist and produced a snapping sound. The loved one was true.
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