Mexican Prickly Poppy is a prickly, hairless, branching herb with yellow juice and showy yellow flowers, The Sanskrit name svarnakshiri is given because of the yellow juice (Svarna- Gold; Kshiri - Juice ). In India it is introducd and naturalised and occurs as wasteland weed in almost every part of India. In many parts it is reported as crop weed also.
Mexican Prickly Poppy is a species of poppy found in Mexico and now widely naturalized in many parts of the world. An extremely hardy pioneer plant, it is tolerant of drought and poor soil, often being the only cover on new road cuttings or verges. It has bright yellow latex. It is poisonous to grazing animals, and it is rarely eaten, but it has been used medicinally by many peoples, including those in its native area, as well as the Natives of the western US, parts of Mexico and many parts of India. In India, during the colorful festival Holika Dahan, adults and children worship by offering flowers, and this species is in its maximum flowering phase during March when the Holi festival is celebrated. It is also referred to as "kateli ka phool” in India.
The height of this plant varies between 1-4 ft. Leaves are thistlelike, stem-clasping, oblong, multiply cut, spiny, with white viens. Flowers occur at the end of branches, yellow. 2.5-5.0 cm across. Fruits are capsules. The plants is toxic to animals and cattle. Flowering: all year.
The seeds resemble the seeds of Brassica nigra(mustard). As a result, mustard can be adulterated by argemone seeds, rendering it poisonous. Several significant instances of katkar poisoning have been reported in India, Fiji, South Africa and other countries. The last major outbreak in India occurred in 1998. 1% adulteration of mustard oil by argemone oil has been shown to cause clinical disease. In India, Argemone oil is mixed with sunflower oil and sesame oil to increase the quantity, but this adulteration causes health disorders and renowned brands display "no argemone oil" to qualify purity.
Mexican Prickly Poppy a source for bio diesel, is used in Ayurveda to treat non healing wounds, constipation, Malaria, chronic fever etc. It is also used in Virechana(purgation) Panchakarma treatment.