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Vascular Plants of California
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Peritoma arborea

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: PeritomaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: BEE PLANT
Habit: Annual, shrub, glabrous to densely glandular-hairy. Stem: generally branched from upper nodes. Leaf: petiole 5--45 mm; leaflets 3--5. Inflorescence: raceme, terminal, generally 1--4 cm, generally 5--40 cm in fruit; pedicels 4--20 mm. Flower: often +- unisexual (stamens or pistils vestigial), +- bilateral, parts generally yellow; sepals free or fused, deciduous above base; petal claw 0 to short. Fruit: longer than wide; septum linear to oblong; receptacle stalk-like, reflexed to ascending. Seed: 10--40.
Etymology: (Greek: cutting all-around, from calyx)
Reference: Iltis & Cochrane 2007 Novon 17:447--451
Peritoma arborea (Nutt.) H.H. Iltis
Habit: Shrub, much branched, generally 5--20 dm, minutely hairy. Leaf: petiole 1--3 cm; leaflets generally 3, 15--45 mm, oblong-elliptic. Inflorescence: 1--30 cm; pedicels 8--15 mm, thicker in fruit. Flower: sepals fused in basal 1/2, 4--7 mm, +- entire, green; petals 8--14 mm, 4--5 mm wide, yellow, claw 0; stamens 15--25 mm, yellow, anthers 2--2.5 mm; style 0.9--1.2 mm or pistil aborting in bud. Fruit: capsule, 3--6 cm, 1--2.5 cm wide, inflated, smooth, leathery, light brown, tardily dehiscent; valves 2--3; receptacle stalk-like, 1--2 cm, stout, reflexed or not. Chromosomes: 2n=34,40.
Note: Varieties +- distinct.
Synonyms: Isomeris arborea Nutt.
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool
Reference: Iltis & Cochrane 2007 Novon 17:447--451
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Staria S. Vanderpool 2012, Peritoma arborea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 11, 2023.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2023, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 11, 2023.

Peritoma arborea
click for enlargement
©1996 Christopher L. Christie
Peritoma arborea  
var. arborea
click for enlargement
©2013 Keir Morse
Peritoma arborea  
var. globosa
click for enlargement
©2005 Steve Matson
Peritoma arborea  
var. globosa
click for enlargement
©2009 Neal Kramer
Peritoma arborea  
var. arborea
click for enlargement
©2013 Keir Morse

More photos of Peritoma arborea
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Peritoma arborea:
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2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
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).