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Vascular Plants of California
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Cleomella lutea

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, distal simple, 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: 13 genera, +- 150 species: widespread tropics to arid temperate. Note: Treated as Capparaceae in TJM (1993); species of Carsonia, Oxystylis, Peritoma, and Wislizenia moved to Cleomella (Roalson et al. 2015).
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin & Thomas J. Rosatti
Genus: CleomellaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual, short-lived perennial herb, or shrub, generally glabrous. Stem: generally ascending to erect, sometimes prostrate when older, generally branched from base, often red-tinged. Leaf: generally many; petiole generally 0--70 mm; leaflets (1)3(5). Inflorescence: generally raceme, +- terminal, flowers 1 in leaf axils, or both (axillary heads in C. oxystylis); pedicel generally 4--25 mm. Flower: parts generally yellow; sepals free or fused in basal 1/2, generally entire; petals +- sessile, upper 2 often recurved. Fruit: capsule or 2 nutlets, 1.5--6 mm, often wider than long; valves deciduous, septum linear to round; receptacle stalk-like. Seed: 2--40 per capsule, often < 10, or 1(3) per nutlet.
Etymology: (Diminutive of Cleome)
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Reference: Holmgren 2004 Brittonia 56:103--106; Roalson et al. 2015 Phytotaxa 205:129--144
Cleomella lutea (Hook.) Roalson & J.C. Hall
Habit: Annual (1.5)2.5--3 dm, +- glabrous. Stem: sparsely branched from distal nodes. Leaf: leaflets generally 5, 1.5--6 cm, linear to elliptic. Inflorescence: raceme. Flower: +- bilateral; sepals fused in basal 1/2, 1.6--2.6 mm, lanceolate, minutely dentate, yellow, persistent; petals 5--8 mm, oblong to ovate, pale yellow; stamens 10--15 mm, yellow, anthers 1.9--2.6 mm. Fruit: capsule, 15--40 mm, 2--5 mm wide, +- linear, +- round in ×-section, striate; receptacle 5--17 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=34.
Ecology: Dry, sandy flats, desert scrub, weedy roadsides; Elevation: 1100--2400 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNE, DMtns; Distribution Outside California: to northern Washington, Nebraska, New Mexico, Baja California. Flowering Time: May--Aug
Synonyms: Cleome lutea Hook.; Cleome lutea var. lutea; Peritoma lutea (Hook.) Raf.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Reference: Holmgren 2004 Brittonia 56:103--106; Roalson et al. 2015 Phytotaxa 205:129--144
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

Previous taxon: Cleomella jonesii
Next taxon: Cleomella obtusifolia

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Botanical illustration including Cleomella lutea

botanical illustration including Cleomella lutea

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2023, Cleomella lutea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, Revision 12,, accessed on June 15, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on June 15, 2024.

No expert verified images found for Cleomella lutea.

Geographic subdivisions for Cleomella lutea:
SNE, 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.
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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).