Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, mostly annuals, often woody at base; stems foetid, generally striate, glabrous to viscid-glandular, occasionally with scattered prickly appendages. Leaves spirally arranged, simple or digitately 3 - 13-foliolate, lower leaves petiolate, upper ones subsessile or sessile; stipules none or obsolete, rarely with stiff spine-like recurved enations. Flowers actinomorphic or slightly zygomorphic by displacement of petals, in terminal racemes or solitary, axillary, pedicellate; bracts foliaceous or membranous, persistent or caducous. Sepals 4, free or shortly united at base, equal, valvate, often glandular Pubescent. Petals 4, mostly clawed at base, equal or unequal, longer than sepals. Stamens (4-) 6 to many, usually all fertile, rarely with a few staminodes, borne on a short or long androgynophore; filaments equal or subequal, declinate. Ovary sessile or mostly on a short gynophore which elongates in fruit, 1-loculed; ovules many on 2 parietal placentae; style short or absent; stigma sessile, capitate, discoid or truncate. Capsules siliquiform, linear oblong terete or flattened, striate, often beaked, dehiscing by 2 valves with persistent seed-bearing replum in middle; seeds glabrous or pubescent, discoid, reniform or orbicular, the ends incurving or one of them free, sometimes with funicular elaiosome, smooth, reticulate-foveolate or transversely rugose, warty, crested or ridged on surface; endosperm none or scanty; embryo straight.

America, Europe, Africa, Asia, extending to Australia in tropical areas; ca 150 species, 15 species in India.

Literature. BABU, C. R. & N. C. MAJUMDAR (1976) Taxonomical notes on Cleome aspera Koen. ex DC., C. burmannii Wight & Arn. and C. rutidosperma DC. (Ceomaceae). J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 71: 629 - 632. 1974. ILTIS, H. H. (1960) Studies in Capparidaceae vii. Old World Ceomes adventive in the New World. Brittonia 12: 279 - 294. KUMAR, P.V & BIR BAHADUR (1978) Seed morpbology of thirteen species of Cleome L. (Capparidaceae). J. Indian Bot. Soc. 57: 39 - 46, ff. 1 - 16. SUNDARA RAGHAVAN, R. (1984) on Cleome bunnannii Wt. & Am. (Capparaceae) - Its identity and distribution. J. Bcon. Tax. Bot. 5: 463 - 465. VIJAYAKUMAR, P. & BIR BAHADUR (1978) Seed morphology of thirteen species of Ceome L. (Capparaceae). J. Indian Bot. Soc. 57: 39 - 46, ff. 1 - 16.


1a. Leaves simple 2
b. Leaves compound, 3 - 9-foliolate 5
2a. Lamina of leaves 2 or more times as long as broad 3
b. Lamina of leaves 1 - 1.5 times as long as broad 4
3a. Stems striate, clothed with short glandular and long eglandular hairs; stamens 6; capsules 5 - 10 cm long 9. Cleome monophylla
b. Stems not striate, scabrid-strigose with spinulose hairs from glandular bases; stamens 8 - 16 (-24); capsules under 4 cm long 12. Cleome simplicifolia
4a. Leaves penninerved; stamens 6; capsules ca 1 mm broad 11. Cleome scaposa
b. Leaves palmately 5-nerved; stamens 4; Capsules 3-4 mm broad 7. Cleome fimbriata
5a. Andro gynophore conspicuous,5 mm or more long 6
b. Aadrogynopbore mostly absent, if present under 3 mm long 7
6a. Plants pubescent with gland -tipped hairs, foetid; petals under 15 mm long, valvate in bud, white or yellowish; androgynophore 9- 16 mm long; gynophore in fruit 5 -10 mm long 8. Cleome gynandra
b. Plants glabrous, or thinly short hairy, not glandular pubescent, not foetid; petals 25 - 35 mm long, imbricate in bud, pink or reddish violet; androgynophore 5 - 7 mm long; gynophore in fruit ca 6 cm long 13. Cleome speciosa
7a. Plants with retrorse scattered soft linear prickly appendages 8
b. Plants without retrorse or prickly appendages 10
8a. Leaflets linear or oblong-lanceolate, scabrid with tubercle-based hairs; petioles shorter than leaflets; gynophore absent 3. Cleome aspera
b. Leaflets otherwise, glabrous except for the scabrous veins; petioles equal to or longer than leaflets; gynophore short 9
9a. Leaflets rhombate or ellpsoid-rhombate; petals 8 - 12 mm long; seeds with elaiosomes 10. Cleome rutidosperma
b. Leaflets elliptic, ovate or lanceolate; petals 2 - 4 mm long seeds without elaiosomes 4. Cleome burmannii
10a. Stamens 6 11
b. Stamens 12 - many 13
11a. Leaflets linear to filiform 1. Cleome angustifolia
b. Leaflets various, not linear or filiform 12
12a. Petals yellow with linear scaly appendages above claw; capsules oblong, up to 12 mm long, densely glandular-hairy 14. Cleome vahliana
b. Petals white or pinkish without appendages; capsules linear, exceeding 15 mm long, scattered glandular-hairy 2. Cleome ariana
13a. Leaflets 3; capsules flat, 6 - 10 times as long as broad 6. Cleome felina
b. Leaflets 3 - 9; capsules terete, more than 20 times as long as broad 14
14a. Plants pubescent with non-glandular hairs; flowers pinkish or purplish 5. Cleome chelidonii
b. Plants viscid with stalked glandular hairs; flowers yellow 15. Cleome viscosa


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