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Cleomella lutea
Cleomella lutea
Cleomella lutea

Cleomella lutea.  Synonyms: Cleome lutea, Peritoma lutea. (Yellow Bee Plant)
Cleomaceae. Synonym: Capparaceae (Caper Family)
(Cleome Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Above: Needles Overlook Road, June 1, 2021.
Left: Indian Creek near Canyonlands National Park, May 19, 2004.

Beeplant often grows in very noticeable large colonies.

Capers are the pickled flower buds of a member of Capparaceae (Caper Family).

Cleomaceae, the Cleome Family, was named by Berchtold and Presl in the early 1800s. Linnaeus named the Cleome genus in 1753 and William Jackson Hooker named the species Cleome lutea in 1830 from a collection made by David Douglas. "Common in North-West America; on the banks of the Columbia; and in the vallies of the Blue Mountains, sparingly; and as far as to the Rocky Mountains".

In 1838 Rafinesque renamed this species Peritoma lutea, with the genus name coming from the Greek for "cut around", apparently referring to the circular splitting of the calyx base.

Genetic research published in 2015 by Roalson et al. reorganized Cleomaceae and this species is now in the genus Cleomella. The word "cleome" was used by Theophrastus several thousand years ago for Mustard-like plants. "Ella" is a diminutive and thus "Cleomella" means "little cleome". "Lutea" is Latin for "yellow".

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Cleomella lutea

Cleomella lutea.  Synonyms: Cleome lutea, Peritoma lutea. (Yellow Bee Plant)
Cleomaceae. Synonym: Capparaceae (Caper Family)
(Cleome Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Indian Creek near Canyonlands National Park, May 19, 2004.

Click to see Cleomella serrulata.

Cleomella lutea

Cleomella lutea.  Synonyms: Cleome lutea, Peritoma lutea. (Yellow Bee Plant)
Cleomaceae. Synonym: Capparaceae (Caper Family)
(Cleome Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Indian Creek near Canyonlands National Park, May 19, 2004.

Cleomella lutea

Cleomella lutea.  Synonyms: Cleome lutea, Peritoma lutea. (Yellow Bee Plant)
Cleomaceae. Synonym: Capparaceae (Caper Family)
(Cleome Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Indian Creek near Canyonlands National Park, May 19, 2004.

The pincushion appearance (exserted stamens) of the flower is unusual, characteristic, and attractive.

Cleomella lutea

Cleomella lutea.  Synonyms: Cleome lutea, Peritoma lutea. (Yellow Bee Plant)
Cleomaceae. Synonym: Capparaceae (Caper Family)
(Cleome Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Road to Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, July 26, 2008.

Mature plants grow to a gangly four feet tall and wide.

Cleomella lutea

Cleomella lutea.  Synonyms: Cleome lutea, Peritoma lutea. (Yellow Bee Plant)
Cleomaceae. Synonym: Capparaceae (Caper Family)
(Cleome Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Road to Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, July 26, 2008.

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

Range map for Cleomella lutea