Taxon Details: Cleome serrata Jacq.
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Cleomaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Cleome serrata Jacq.
Primary Citation:

Enum. Syst. Pl. 26. 1760
Common Names:

toothed spiderflower

Author: Xavier Cornejo

Description: Unarmed annual herbs, to 0.5 m tall, glabrous or with lax and short sparsely glandular trichomes throughout. Stipules minute, caducous. Leaves 3-foliolate, occasionally 1-foliolate; petioles (1-)1.5-7 (-11) cm long; petiolules 1-5 mm long; leaflets lanceolate- or ovate-elliptic, sometimes oblong-lanceolate, 3-14 (-16) x (0.5-) 1-4(-6) cm, the base cuneate, to widely obtuse in unifoliolate leaves, the apex subcaudate-acuminate to acute, the margin minutely serrulate-dentate to serrulate-ciliate. Inflorescences terminal, few-flowered loose racemes, up to 20 cm long, apparently ebracteate; pedicels 10-25 mm long. Flowers: sepals free, ovate-lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 2-5 x 0.5-1.3 mm, with very short glandular trichomes abaxially, or at least along the margins; petals oblanceolate-elliptic to spathulate, 8-20 x 2-5 mm, greenish, white, cream, purplish or pale yellow, glabrous, the base attenuate, the apex usually rounded; disk obsolete or clearly present, slightly fleshy, conic, 1-2 mm tall; stamens six, the filaments 8-20 mm long, purple; gynophore to 7 (--10) mm long, purple, the ovary sessile to stipitate, glabrous. Fruits siliques, ascending to divergent, linear-cylindric to linear-fusiform, (3.7--)4-8(--11) cm x 3-5 mm, longitudinally veined. Seeds suborbicular, 1.8-2.3 x 1.7 x 2.2 mm, dark brown, without funicular aril.

Common names: ECUADOR. Frejolillo (Cornejo & Bonifaz 7277 [GUAY, WIS]).

Distribution: This is a widespread weed, collected from Mexico to Ecuador and the West Indies (Iltis, 2001).

Ecology: In disturbed areas of dry to moist forests.

Phenology: Not recorded.

Pollination: The flowers of this species have been observed to be visited by bees at around 7:00 h. (Cornejo & Bonifaz 7277 [GUAY, WIS] from Ecuador).

Dispersal: Not recorded, but birds may eat and disperse the seeds.

Taxonomic notes: Not recorded.

Conservation: Least Concern (LC).

Uses: Not recorded.

Etymology: Jaquin most likely named this species to emphasize the serrate margin of the leaf blades which is a characteristic common to other species of this genus.