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Annual, perennial herb, shrub, often ill-smelling. Leaf: generally 1-palmate, generally alternate, generally petioled; stipules generally minute, often bristle-like or hairy; leaflets 0 or 3–7. Inflorescence: raceme, head, or flowers 1, expanded in fruit; bracts generally 3-parted below, simple above, or 0. Flower: generally bisexual, radial to ± bilateral; sepals generally 4, free or fused, generally persistent; petals generally 4, free, ± clawed; stamens generally 6, free, exserted, anthers generally coiling at dehiscence; ovary superior, generally on stalk-like receptacle, chamber generally 1, placentas generally 2, parietal, style 1, persistent, stigma generally minute, ± head-like. Fruit: 2 nutlets or generally capsule, septicidal; valves generally 2, deciduous, leaving septum (frame-like placentas) behind; pedicel generally ± reflexed to spreading.
17 genera, ± 150 species: widespread tropics to arid temperate. [Iltis & Cochrane 2007 Novon 17:447–451] Treated as Capparaceae in TJM (1993). —Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Ernst 1963 J Arnold Arbor 44:81–93]
Key to Cleomaceae
1 sp. (Greek: sharp style)
Annual, ± glabrous. Stem: branched from base, 5–15 dm. Leaf: petiole 2.5–7 cm; leaflets 3, 2–6 cm, ± elliptic, thick, firm. Inflorescence: axillary head, 0.5–3 cm, ± spheric, ± sessile, not elongating in fruit; pedicels 1–3 mm, thicker, reflexed in fruit. Flower: radial; sepals free, 1–2 mm, lanceolate, green; petals 2–3 mm, elliptic, straw-yellow, ± sessile; stamens 3–5 mm, yellow, anthers 1–1.2 mm; ovary 1–1.5 mm, ± sessile, lobes 2, ± separate, each 1-ovuled, style 2–3 mm, wide, fleshy at base. Fruit: 2 nutlets, each 2.5 mm, ± spheric, smooth, white to deep purple; receptacle < 2 mm, ± stalk-like; style 4–11 mm, stout, spine-like. Seed: 1 per nutlet.
2n=20,40. Desert wash, alkaline sink scrub, alkaline flats, in sandy or alkaline soil; < 945 m. n&e Mojave Desert; western Nevada (Amargosa Desert). Mar–Oct [Online Interchange]
Previous taxon: Oxystylis
Next taxon: Peritoma
Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Mar 8 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2012. Oxystylis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=35724, accessed on Mar 8 2014
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