San Rafael Valley, AZ ~~ Photo by Bill Haas

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Ubiquitous heat-loving, summer flowers in the high desert of the Eastern Sierras, these Prickly Poppies are a close relative of the taller, rangy Matilija Poppies. There's almost no difference between their large, delicate crepe-paper flowers, but Pricklies have spines on their stems, and Matilijas have a heavenly, spicy fragrance.
Pricklies contain alkaloid properties that are poisonous to cattle, but they had many medicinal uses for Mexican and American natives. For example, when smoked, Pricklies produce a euphoric, sedative effect for about thirty minutes and were used as an anesthetic during surgery and to treat inflammation, fevers and warts.

Me? I just love to look at them!