Cleome is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cleomaceae. Previously it had been placed in family Capparaceae, until DNA studies found the Cleomaceae genera to be more closely related to Brassicaceae than Capparaceae. The APG II system) allows for Cleome and the other members of Cleomaceae to be included in Brassicaceae.

The genus sensu stricto includes about 170 species of herbaceous annual or perennial plants and shrubs. The genus has a subcosmopolitan distribution throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. However a recent DNA study failed to separate Cleome, Podandrogyne and Polanisia from each other, so some taxonomists have abandoned the last two of these genera, treating them as part of Cleome sensu lato; in this case Cleome contains about 275 species, the vast majority of the Cleomaceae.

Selected species


  • Cleome multicaulis DC.
  • Cleome ornithopodioides L.
  • Cleome paludosa Willd. ex Eichler
  • Cleome parviflora Kunth
  • ''Cleome pilosa
  • Cleome platycarpa Torr.
  • Cleome psoraleifolia DC.
  • Cleome rubella Burch.
  • Cleome rutidosperma DC.
  • Cleome serrata Jacq.
  • Cleome serrulata Pursh
  • Cleome sparsifolia S.Wats.
  • Cleome speciosa Raf.
  • Cleome spinosa Jacq.
  • Cleome stenophylla Klotzsch ex Urban
  • Cleome stylosa Eichler
  • Cleome titubans Speg.
  • Cleome trachycarpa Klotzsch ex Eichler
  • Cleome tucumanensis H.H.Iltis
  • Cleome violacea L.
  • Cleome viridiflora Schreb.
  • Cleome viscosa L.
  • Cleome werdermannii A. Ernst
  • Cultivation and uses

    Cleome hassleriana (spider flower) is a commonly cultivated garden plant, which can become invasive if attention is not paid to removing it before it can shed its seeds.


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