Rosa Salvaje

Richard G Witham

Joined February 2008

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Artist's Description

White Prickly Poppy, argemone polyanthemos (Papaveraceae)

I grew up in the southern USA calling these flowers wild roses. I’m not sure how I came up with the name, but perhaps it resulted from my fascination with the delicate, pure white blossoms hovering alluringly above highly defensive, prickly stems – a contrast I associate with roses. They also begin to bloom early in the spring and create a pleasing contrast to the dark and brittle winter.

Years later, as my daughters were growing up in central Mexico I’d often draw their attention to these flowers scattered among fields of scrub brush and cacti, and even now as young adults they carry on my misnomer by referring to them as Rosa Salvaje: A small sample of how we pass our knowledge, right or wrong, from one generation to the next.

The white prickly poppy grows wild in dry sandy soil at elevations of 1500’ – 8000’ throughout the southern US and down through Mexico. The prickly grayish-green plants are a natural defense against grazing animals, and as if that weren’t enough they are also bitter tasting and poisonous. The blossoms close at night and are comprised of 6 fan shaped petals around a ball of yellow stamens surrounding a dark red stigma. Leaves are deeply pinnately divided and coarse.

Photographed in southern Arizona: Olympus XZ1; f/2.8 @ 1/2000, ISO 100

Artwork Comments

  • Harlan Mayor
  • Richard G Witham
  • cieloverde
  • Richard G Witham
  • carol selchert
  • Richard G Witham
  • Celeste Mookherjee
  • Richard G Witham
  • Photos - Pauline Wherrell
  • Richard G Witham
  • Krys Bailey
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  • monaiman
  • Richard G Witham
  • Vesna ©
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  • autumnwind
  • Richard G Witham
  • LindaR
  • Richard G Witham
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