Prickly Poppy - Papaver argemone

Alternative names
Roemeria argemone

Short to medium, stiffly hairy plant. Leaves pinnately-lobed with linear or oblong, bristle tipped divisions. Flowers pale scarlet, 2 to 6 cm, the petals not overlapping and often with a dark blotch at the base. Anthers bluish. Capsules oblong, with a few erect bristles.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert detailed photographs are required showing the various features of the plant, including the seed capsule.  In cases of doubt a specimen may be required. (RPR)


An annual of arable crops, usually found on field edges and in unsprayed corners, often in small numbers. It is most frequent on light sandy, gravelly and chalky soils. Rarely, it occurs on waste ground.

When to see it

In flower from May to July or August.

Life History


UK Status

It is infrequent and although widespread in Britain it has a very patchy and local distribution.  It is susceptible to herbicides and has declined because of this.

VC55 Status

Rare and declining in Leicestershire and Rutland due to agricultural herbicides; few recent records.

In the Flora of Leicestershire (Primavesi and Evans 1988) it was found in 27 of the 617 tetrads, and in 5 tetrads in the Flora of Rutland (Messenger 1971).

It is listed on the Checklist for VC55 (Jeeves 2011) as Alien: archaeophyte; arable land.

It is listed on the current VC55 Rare Plant Register (Hall and Woodward 2022) as Locally Rare (i.e. present in less than 3 sites)



Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Long-Headed Bristly Poppy, Pale Poppy, Prickly Poppy
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
16/05/2020 (Timms, Sue)
Last record:
16/05/2020 (Timms, Sue)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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