seen on my recent trip in October. Any help please.
This a the Yellow-flowered Mexican poppy
(i've also heard the name Devil's fig), Argemone Mexicana
L, Bloudissel, geelblom (Afrikaans).
Unfortunately it is a declared weed and listed as a category 1 plant…
Category 1 Plants
This is the strictest category and these are prohibited plants that will no longer be tolerated, neither in rural nor urban areas, except with the written permission of the executive officer or in an approved biocontrol reserve. These plants may no longer be planted or propagated, and all trade in their seeds, cuttings or other propagative material is prohibited. They may not be transported or be allowed to disperse.
Plant species were included in this list for one or more of the following reasons:
They might pose a serious health risk to humans or livestock; Cause serious financial losses to land users;
Invade undisturbed environments and transform or degrade natural plant communities;
Use more water than the plant communities they replace;
or be particularly difficult to control.
Most of the plants in this category produce copious numbers of seeds, are wind or bird dispersed or have highly efficient means of vegetative reproduction.
Whereas some of these plants were introduced inadvertently (have no obvious function to fulfil in South Africa and are generally regarded as undesirable) many of them are popular garden or landscaping plants. What they all have in common, however, is the fact that their harmfulness outweighs any useful properties they might have.
The Mexican poppies (Argemone ochroleuca and A. mexicana) are spiny, annual herbs that originate from Central America (Mexico) and are naturalised in most semi-tropical countries of the world. In South Africa. A. ochroleuca
is the more abundant species of the two.
They are prolific seed producers with seed numbers ranging from 4000 to 30 000 (the spiny capsules split into five lobes and release numerous small black seeds).
Ecological impact / threat: Prolific in disturbed sites. Competes with agricultural crops and indigenous ruderal species. Contaminates crop seed. Spiny fruits and leaf tips can adhere to sheeps wool.
Its toxicity to animals and humans is a concern as they establishes readily on overgrazed pastures, wasteland, roadsides, abandoned lands, cultivated lands, riverbanks and riverbeds.
Argemone seeds are known to have caused human fatalities in the Western Cape Province as a result of wheat contamination, and its sap and leaves are also known to be irritants.
MEXICAN POPPIES TARGETED FOR BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
The ARC-PPRI (Agricultural Research Council - Plant Protection Research Institute) is currently investigating the use of biological control as a management tool. A recent trip to Mexico yielded two weevil species - one feeding on the flowers and the other on the fruits of Mexican poppy. The weevils are being cultured at their Rietondale (Pretoria) quarantine facility where host range trials and impact studies will be conducted.
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