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Cleomella palmeriana

Cleomella palmeriana (Palmer's Bee Plant, Rocky Mountain Stinkweed)
Cleomaceae (Cleome Family)
formerly Capparaceae (Caper Family)

Semi-desert. Sand and clay openings. Spring.
Southeast Corner of Utah, April 17, 2010.

It is easy to pass this plant by as a Peritoma lutea but Cleomella palmeriana is only about one tenth the size of Peritoma lutea and when the two plants are in fruit another distinguishing characteristic becomes apparent: Peritome's fruits are much longer than broad with numerous seeds; Cleomella's fruits are about as long as broad and have two to twelve seeds.

Cleomella palmeriana is a Colorado Plateau endemic.

In 1986 Welsh found what he at first named C. palmeriana var. goodrichii but further examination indicated that taxon was C. hillmanii. The Flora of the Four Corners Region is the only flora still indicating that there is a C. palmeriana var. goodrichii.

Cleomella palmeriana was named Cleomella palmerana by Marcus Jones in 1891 from a collection he made in Green River, Utah in 1890.  According to Intermountain Flora the word "Cleome" was used by Theophrastus several thousand years ago for "some mustard-like plant". In 1753 Linnaeus used Theophrastus "Cleome" for a new genus. "Cleomella" means "tiny Cleome".

William Jackson Palmer (1836-1909) was a friend of Jones', and a highly respected Civil War general, industrialist, railway developer, and philanthropist.  (Click for more biographical information about Palmer).

Cleomella palmeriana

Cleomella palmeriana (Palmer's Bee Plant, Rocky Mountain Stinkweed)
Cleomaceae (Cleome Family)
formerly Capparaceae (Caper Family)

Semi-desert. Sand and clay openings. Spring.
Southeast Corner of Utah, April 17, 2010.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Cleomella palmeriana

Range map for Cleomella palmeriana