Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Prickly Poppy

In the six straight Saturdays I've visited the Sonoran Desert this year I've seen prickly poppies three of the weeks (April 25, May 2 and May 9). I did not see any the first two weeks (April 11 or April 18) and I saw none last Saturday (May 16). It is amazing how quickly many of the flowering plants make an appearance and then disappear. I'm not sure I'm not seeing them because they just lack flowers, but I think I would notice the plant itself if they were around because they are quite distinctive. 
They stand out and are easy to spot from a distance.

I saw this plant on May 9 and it had much fewer flowers that those I saw the two previous Saturdays. 
I'm not sure if this is a seed pod that follows a flower, or a bud that causes the flower. I think it is the former.
The flowers have six broad, wrinkled, feathery thin petals that twist and fold over in the wind. It has numerous yellow stamens that clump together and form a round, yellow center with a red dot in the middle. I like the other name for it, cowboy's fried egg. The stamens are the yolk and the red center is a little blood from a fertile egg. 
The flowers are so beautiful. 
They can get so prevalent that they crowd each other and prevent flowers around them from fully opening. 

It contains poisonous alkaloids throughout and animals will not eat it. Desert USA says it blooms year round, which as indicated above, is not my experience. Maybe the flowers die in the real hot weather and/or come back when it rains. 
A closer look at the stamens.
It is gorgeous and one of my favorite desert flowers. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. These delicate but showy flowers are one of my favorites too. They look like they are made of crepe paper.