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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Staria S. Vanderpool

Annual, shrub, tree, ill-smelling
Leaves generally 1-palmate, generally alternate, generally petioled; stipules generally minute, often bristle-like or hairy; leaflets 3–7
Inflorescence: raceme, head, or flowers solitary, generally longer 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: generally capsule, septicidal; valves generally 2, deciduous, leaving septum (frame-like placentas) behind; pedicel generally ± reflexed to spreading
Genera in family: 45 genera, 800 species: widespread tropical to arid temp; some cultivated (Capparis spinosa , caper bush)
Reference: [Ernst 1963 J Arnold Arbor 44:81–93]
CA members placed in subfamily Cleomoideae. Alternate family name: Capparidaceae.


Annual, generally glabrous
Stem generally ascending to erect, generally branched from base, often red-tinged
Leaves generally many; petiole generally 7–20 mm; leaflets generally 3
Inflorescence: raceme, ± terminal; flowers solitary in leaf axils, or both; pedicel generally 4–25 mm
Flower radial to bilateral; parts generally yellow; sepals fused in basal third, generally entire; petals ± sessile, upper 2 often recurved
Fruit: capsule, often wider than long; septum elliptic to round; receptacle stalk-like
Seeds < 10
Species in genus: ± 10 species: arid w North America
Etymology: (Diminutive of Cleome)
Reference: [Payson 1922 Univ Wyoming Publ Sci Bot 1:29–46]
C. hillmanii Nelson, known from near Reno, NV; may be found in adjacent CA.


C. obtusifolia Torr. & Frémont


Plant hairy
Stem 1–9 dm, rough; younger ascending to erect; older prostrate, forming circular mat < 9 dm wide
Leaf: leaflets 5–15 mm, obovate
Inflorescence: raceme on older stems, 1–10 cm, terminal, dense, on younger stems flowers solitary in leaf axils
Flower: sepals 1–1.5 mm, ovate, green, hairy, margin with long hairs; petals 4–6(9) mm, dark yellow, lower surface hairy; stamens 8–14 mm, anthers 1.5–2.3 mm; style 1.5–5 mm
Fruit 3–4 mm, hairy, striate; valves conic to horn-shaped; receptacle 6–8 mm, reflexed
Ecology: Desert scrub, sandy, rocky alkaline flats
Elevation: 300–1200(2000) m.
Bioregional distribution: East of Sierra Nevada, Desert
Distribution outside California: w Nevada
Flowering time: Apr–Oct
Synonyms: C. o. var. pubescens Nelson
Variable; deserves additional study.

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