BRASSICACEAE – Cleome – Cleome hassleriana



Brassicaceae includes approximately 420 genera of herbs, shrubs, and trees, which are widely distributed, with greatest diversity in Asia, the Mediterranean, and North America. Genera traditionally in the caper family, Capparidaceae, are now includes in Brassicaceae. Several species are culinary condiments, oils and vegetables. sulfur compounds impart the typically pungent aroma and piquant flavor. Leaves are simple, semetimes deely lobed or often compound. Flowers are bisexual, usually radially symmetrical or slightly irregular, and commonly yellow. The 4 sepals and 4 petals of traditional genera form a cross,, hence the older name of Cruciferae. The inflorescence is a corymb, spike, or raceme. The fruit is a capsule or a silique, or silicule (a flattened capsule that splits into 2 halves longitudinally with seeds mounted on a papery septum in the  middle).


Cleome includes approximately 150 species of perennial and annual herbs widely distributed in the subtropics and tropics. Leaves are palmately compound, Inflorescences are usually on slender stalks and borne in large terminal clusters or sometimes solitary. Very attractive to hummingbirds. Bracts are usually present. All parts are  pungently scented.

Cleome hassleriana

cleome, spider flower

Synonym: C. spinosa. Southern Brazil, Uruguaym  Paraguaym northern Argentina. Annual herb, 4-5 ft, zones 9-10. Blooms spring to fall. Regular moisture. Fertile, well – drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: petals narrowly stalked, stanens long -exserted, inflorescence 8-10 in. wide. leaves: palmatifid, 5 to 7 lobed, margins minutely toothed, spines at base of petioles. Cultivars with red, purple, yellow, or white flowers. Commonly cultivated as a summer annual in temperate climates.

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