Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cleome hassleriana

Here we have a few stragglers -- maybe from seeds set last summer -- of the annual called Cleome hassleriana or spider flower growing in Stuyvesant Park.

Cleomes are great annuals - tall and showy with flowers in pink, purple or white, with very long, very pronounced stamens (similar to spider legs, thus the common name).

As for the origin of the genus name, Cleome is neither Latin or Greek based. Instead it is derivative of an ancient European word for 'mustard-like plant.'

I wasn't sure if I had ever written about this lovely annual -- I had to search the blog before I realized that Cleomes featured in one of my very first blog entries, back on December 31, 2007. I didn't quite have the regular format worked out back then, and hadn't written much about the plant, besides its use in a seasonal palette.

I definitely didn't mention the palmately compound leaves -- so similar looking to another iconic leaf. I feel obligated to quote my herbaceous plants professor from college: "Do not smoke this plant. It will just make you sick."


Art D. said...

"Do not smoke this plant..."
Sage advice, indeed.

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