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Cleome isomeris (Bladderpod spiderflower)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Cleome isomeris

Cleome isomeris Greene

Bladderpod Spiderflower, Bladderpod

Capparaceae (Caper Family)

Synonym(s): Isomeris arborea, Isomeris arborea var. angustata, Isomeris arborea var. globosa, Isomeris arborea var. insularis

USDA Symbol: clis

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Extremely variable as to foliage and fruit, this ill-scented, evergreen shub is usually rounded, erect, widely branched and appoximately 4 ft. tall. The odd-smelling, yellow flowers are followed by curious pods that resemble paper lanterns. Lacy, gray-green leaves are palmately compound.

The species name comes from the Greek words isos ("equal") and meris ("part"), possibly describing the equal halves of the pod.


From the Image Gallery

12 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Class: 1-3 ft. , 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Dec
Bloom Notes: Has an unusual scent.


Native Distribution: S. CA
Native Habitat: Subalkaline coastal bluffs; desert washes; stabilized dunes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, well-drained, slightly alkaline soils
Conditions Comments: Seems to be deer-proof. Drought tolerant and wind resistant.


Interesting Foliage: 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.


Description: Propagation by seed is possible.
Seed Collection: Mature capsules can be hand-picked. Seeds are both white and black; the black seeds having somewhat higher germination rates.
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

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:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2009-02-20
Research By: TWC Staff

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