Cleome serrulata Pursh
Rocky Mountain beeplant, Rocky mountain bee plant, Waa, Skunk weed
Capparaceae (Caper Family)
Synonym(s): Cleome serrulata var. angusta
USDA Symbol: CLSE
Annual with erect stem is leafy and branching above. Leaflets occur in threes. Branched stems have palmately compound leaves and, in racemes at ends of branches, pink or reddish-purple flowers (sometimes white). Showy clusters of pink flowers continue to elongate during the season, so that the slender seed capsules may be present even while the upper portion of the inflorescence in still flowering. Six conspicuous stamens protrude beyond the pink petals. Rocky Mountain beeplant may attain 4-5 ft.
Flowers produce copious nectar and attract bees, hence the common name. Indians boiled the strong leaves for food and as a stomachache remedy. In times of drought early Spanish-Americans made tortillas from the barely palatable but nourishing seeds.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , CT , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , MA , ME , MI , MN , MO , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY
Native Distribution: E. WA to CA, e. to Sask. & extreme n.e. TX; introduced eastward
Native Habitat: Prairies; open woods; wash areas; disturbed sites
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Well-drained, sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Members of this genus have been cultivated as garden ornamentals. Rocky Mountain beeplant is recommended for short-term stabilization and beautification.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Bees are attracted to the pink flowers, and seeds are important food for doves and other small birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
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Learn more at BAMONA
PropagationDescription: Propagate by seed. Sow thickly as germination is poor.
Seed Collection: Rounded, brown, corn-shaped seeds fall out of the pod at maturity.
Seed Treatment: No treatment is necessary but moist stratification may enhance germination.
Commercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Search More Titles in Bibliography
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.4 - Research Update, Wild-Collecting Endangers Natives, Director's Report, Maryland ...
Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.1 - Winter Botanizing Using Stems, Director's Report, Welcome New Education Director...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Cleome serrulata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cleome serrulata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cleome serrulata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-06-21
Research By: TWC Staff