Cleome spinosa Jacq., Pl. Carib. 26. 1760. L., Sp. Pl. ed. 2:939.1762; A. Gray, New Manual of Bot. ed., 7.439.1908; Bailey, Stand. Cycloped. Hort.1:798.1947; Elffers et al, l.c.
A tall, viscid, pubescent, strong-scented annual or biennial, 60-90 (-120) cm tall. Leaves large, 5-7-foliolate; leaflets oblong-lanceolate, up to 10 cm long and about 2-3 cm wide, subentire to finely or slightly serrulate; peticle in the lower leaves usually longer than the leaflets, with 2 small spiny stipules at the base. Inflorescence many flowered, conspicuously bracteate, raceme. Flowers large, white or pinkish, about 2-2.5 cm across; pedicel long, but shorter than the gynophore, both elongated and thickened in fruit. Sepals 5-8 mm long; petals about 2-3 times as long as the sepals; limb obovate, clawed, about 1 cm broad with an equally long claw. Stamens 6, about twice as long as the petals. Gynophore about 6-8 cm long in fruit. Fruit 30-45 mm long, 3-3.5 mm broad, cylindric-linear; seeds many, glabrous.
Type: S. America, Carrabies: not precisely designated.
Distribution: Native of Trop. South America.
It is a robust ornamental plant and may be mistaken for a cultivated variety of Gynandropsis gynandra, but it has no androphore. It is commonly known as `Spider flower'.
Cleome heptaphylla L., a similar plant, but with purple flowers and viscid prickly stems, is said to be cultivated throughout India (Hook. f.,l.c. 168) and may also be found cultivated in W. Pakistan. This is a native of the West Indies.