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Argemone munitaPrickly Poppy (Argemone munita) Info

This very thorny plant does not act like a typical Mars herb. Chicalote leaves have been used as a smudging herb by Native American peoples of the Southwest and Mexico, so it is helpful with protection, as one would expect from Mars, but also with purification. The leaves have been smoked as a euphoriant, definitely not Mars. Especially when flowering, this magick herb contains a large number of alkaloids that are similar to those in psychoactive cactus except they do not have hallucinogenic effects. The essential oil extracted from the seeds was used medicinally in India until it was found to cause cataracts and lethal edema, so do not use them for anything. Interestingly, people involved in proving the homeopathic remedy made from a close relative of this plant, Argemone pleicantha, had negative experiences when around other people and positive ones when alone; people felt they had to push others away, much as the prickly poppy's spines do.  Clearly, there is much more to this apparently rough and simple weed than meets the eye. A flower essence might be very interesting. Top

How to Grow Prickly Poppy

This half-hardy annual should germinate in 2-3 weeks at 60-70F/15-21C.  It needs full sun and a somewhat dry environment, but it will grow up to three feet tall in temperate to hot areas.  Chicalote is good for desert or alpine gardens or xeriscaping, but it spreads quickly, so watch out. The white, papery flowers are 3" wide and appear in the summer; they look very much like Romneya coulteri flowers.  This very spiney plant has a taproot, and so is not a good candidate for container gardening, although a tub might well work for a group of plants on a sunny balcony or patio (if you do this, let me know how it works out). Start these seeds either indoors in the spring or outside in a warm spot after danger of frost is over. Plant the seedlings in sandy soil in full sun. The soil can be poor; these are tough in that sense, although they won't do well with wet and cold (just the opposite of their siblings, the papavers). They will produce a LOT of seed, like most poppies. Long pods that hold seeds will form where there are flowers. The lower parts of the plant might become leafless, so planting them among shorter plants is a good idea. General growing info. Top

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Purification Rituals
Protection Spells
Smudging
Mars Herb

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction of any part without permission.