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South African Poppy, Bristle Poppy
Papaver aculeatum

Family: Papaveraceae (pa-pav-er-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Papaver (puh-PAY-ver) (Info)
Species: aculeatum (ah-kew-lee-AY-tum) (Info)


Alpines and Rock Gardens



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall



Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Eureka, California

Hewitt, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 20, 2011, depuy from Eureka, CA wrote:

It's been a couple years since I first grew them. Some recently volunteered in some potted plants and are just now starting to bloom. Some poppy seed can remain viable for several years, possibly 10 or more.
I had one reach about 6 feet in height so don't count on 2 or 3 feet as the maximum height . It started blooming at the top and then sent out clusters of flowers from it's leaf axils , In descending order ( if my memory serves me correctly ) . I believe most poppies need sunlight to germinate and as their seeds are tiny , germination is best when seeds are scattered on bare soil. Soil may be lightly scratched , no furrows .Most poppies do not tolerate transplanting. Full sun is best.These guys are prickly .