Scientific Name: Argemone glauca
Common Names: Pua Kala, Smooth Pricklypoppy, Hawaiian Poppy, Hawaiian Prickly Poppy, Beach Poppy, Puakala, Kala, Naule, Pokalakala
Growth Habit: Herb/Forb
Hawaii Native Status: Native (endemic)
Flower Color: White
Flowering Season: Sporadic
Height: Up to 4 feet (1.2 m) tall
Description: The showy flowers are 3 inches (7.6 cm) or more across and have 6 broad, delicate, crinkled, white petals, numerous yellow-orange stamens, and a dark purple, lobed stigma. The flowers last only one day and are followed by erect, oblong, prickly, green drying to dark brown seed pods that split open at the tips to release the seeds. The leaves are glaucous blue-green with whitish veins, alternate, deeply pinnately lobed, covered with small spines, and edged with larger, spiny teeth. The stems are erect, branched, and covered with yellowish spines. The plants will ooze yellow sap if damaged.
Here in Hawaii, Pua Kala grows in dry, sunny, rocky areas from low to moderate elevations on the leeward sides of the islands and in high elevation subalpine areas in the mountains.
The one other Argemone species found here, the non-native Mexican Pricklypoppy (Argemone mexicana) has yellow flowers.
Poisonous – The plants are poisonous, but the native Hawaiians did find medicinal uses for them.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Papaveraceae – Poppy family
Genus: Argemone L. – pricklypoppy
Species: Argemone glauca (Nutt. ex Prain) Pope – smooth pricklypoppy
More About This Plant