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Vascular Plants of California
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Cleomella plocasperma

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.
Etymology: (Diminutive of Cleome)
Reference: Holmgren 2004 Brittonia 56:103--106
Cleomella plocasperma S. Watson
Stem: branched generally from upper nodes, 10--55(80) cm, smooth. Leaf: leaflets 15--45 mm, linear-elliptic. Inflorescence: raceme, 1--20 cm. Flower: sepals 0.9--2.2 mm, lanceolate; petals 3.5--7 mm; stamens 8--12 mm, anthers 1.5--1.9 mm; style 0.8--1.2 mm. Fruit: 4--5 mm; valves +- hemispheric to horn-shaped; receptacle 6--10 mm, spreading to ascending.
Ecology: Wet, alkaline meadows, greasewood flats, near thermal springs; Elevation: 875--1710 m. Bioregional Distribution: ne SnBr, GB (exc Wrn, W&I), DMoj (exc DMtns); Distribution Outside California: to Oregon, Idaho, Utah. Flowering Time: May--Oct
Unabridged Synonyms: Cleomella plocasperma var. mojavensis (Payson) Crum ex Jeps.; Cleomella plocasperma var. stricta Crum ex Jeps.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Reference: Holmgren 2004 Brittonia 56:103--106
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Cleomella plocasperma

botanical illustration including Cleomella plocasperma


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2012, Cleomella plocasperma, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 03, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on February 03, 2023.

Cleomella plocasperma
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© 2016 Steve Matson
Cleomella plocasperma
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© 2002 Gary A. Monroe
Cleomella plocasperma
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© 1998 Larry Blakely
Cleomella plocasperma
click for enlargement
© 1998 Larry Blakely
Cleomella plocasperma
click for enlargement
© 2010 Steve Matson
Cleomella plocasperma
click for enlargement
© 2016 Steve Matson

More photos of Cleomella plocasperma in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Cleomella plocasperma:
ne SnBr, GB (exc Wrn, W&I), DMoj (exc DMtns)
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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).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

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 (fruiting time in some monocot genera).