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Cleomella obtusifolia

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CleomaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 17 genera, +- 150 species: widespread tropics to arid temperate. Note: Treated as Capparaceae in TJM (1993).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: CleomellaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, generally glabrous. Stem: generally ascending to erect, sometimes prostrate when older, generally branched from base, often red-tinged. Leaf: generally many; petiole generally 7--20 mm; leaflets generally 3. Inflorescence: raceme, +- terminal, flowers 1 in leaf axils, or both; pedicel generally 4--25 mm. Flower: parts generally yellow; sepals fused in basal 1/3, generally entire; petals +- sessile, upper 2 often recurved. Fruit: 2--6 mm, often wider than long; septum elliptic to round; receptacle stalk-like. Seed: < 10.
Species In Genus: +- 10 species: arid western North America. Etymology: (Diminutive of Cleome)
Reference: Holmgren 2004 Brittonia 56:103--106

Cleomella obtusifolia Torr. & Frém.
Habit: Plant hairy. Stem: 1--9 dm, rough, younger ascending to erect, older prostrate, in +- round mat. Leaf: leaflets 5--15 mm, obovate. Inflorescence: on older stems raceme, 1--10 cm, dense, on younger stems flowers 1 in leaf axils. Flower: sepals 1--1.5 mm, ovate, green, hairy, margin long-hairy; petals 4--6(9) mm, dark yellow, abaxially 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: < 1800 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNE, D; Distribution Outside California: western Nevada. Flowering Time: Apr--Oct Note: Variable; needs study.
Synonyms: Cleomella obtusifolia var. pubescens A. Nelson;
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Reference: Holmgren 2004 Brittonia 56:103--106
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botanical illustration including Cleomella obtusifolia


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2012, Cleomella obtusifolia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 22, 2018.

Cleomella obtusifolia
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© 2017 Neal Kramer
Cleomella obtusifolia
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© 2013 Neal Kramer
Cleomella obtusifolia
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© 2009 Steve Matson
Cleomella obtusifolia
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© 2004 James M. Andre
Cleomella obtusifolia
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Cleomella obtusifolia
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© 2011 Neal Kramer

More photos of Cleomella obtusifolia in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cleomella obtusifolia:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.