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Cleome lutea (Yellow spiderflower)
Cressler, Alan

Cleome lutea

Cleome lutea Hook.

Yellow Spiderflower, Yellow Spider-flower, Yellow Beeplant, Yellow Caper, Golden Caper

Capparaceae (Caper Family)


USDA Symbol: CLLU2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

An erect, leafy, 1-3 ft. annual, branching especially in the upper portions of the plant. Palmately compound leaves bear 3-7 leaflets. Showy, 4-petaled, yellow flowers crowd together in a dense, terminal raceme. Seed pods are long and narrow. A branched plant with palmately compound leaves and racemes of small yellow flowers at the tops.

The genus name was used by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus for a plant resembling mustard, and while the flowers resemble those of mustards, the ovary on a jointed stalk and palmately compound leaves distinguish this as a member of the Capparaceae family. The similar Golden Spider Flower (C. platycarpa), from eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and adjacent portions of California and Nevada, has hairs on stems and leaves tipped with glands.


From the Image Gallery

3 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NE , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Native Distribution: E. WA to e. CA, e. Bighorn Co, MT & n.w. NM
Native Habitat: River bottoms; stream banks; sandy flats; desert plains

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy or rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees
Special Value to Honey Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.1 - Winter Botanizing Using Stems, Director's Report, Welcome New Education Director...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cleome lutea in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cleome lutea in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cleome lutea


Record Modified: 2015-02-19
Research By: TWC Staff

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