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Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma

Large-flowered redwhisker clammyweed

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderBrassicalesMustard, cabbage, caper, papaya, nasturtiums, many others; most produce mustard oil
FamilyCleomaceaeCaper family
GenusPolanisiaFrom the Greek polys, “many,” and anisos, “unequal,” referring to the stamens
SpeciesdodecandraHaving twelve stamens
ssp.trachyspermaFrom the Greek trachys, “rough,” and sperma, “seed.”

About plant names...

Even without its rather goofy-sounding name to remind you, redwhisker clammyweed would be easy to pick out of a lineup. “Redwhisker” is for the long red stamens poking out of the flowers, and “clammyweed” for the sticky feeling left after handling the plant. This species is related to capers and to spiderflowers. They prefer full sun and moderately moist to dry, gravelly or sandy soil. They are found on river banks, streamsides, roadsides, and other disturbed sites.

Plants: 12-24" (30-60 cm) tall. The stem is usually unbranched, and green to reddish purple. Both the stem and leaves are covered with sticky hairs. The plant has a strong odor.

Leaves: Near the base of the plant, leaves are in groups of three. Further up the stem, they are single, alternate, elliptic, and nearly sessile. The upper leaves remain roughly constant in size along the stem, at up to 1½" (3.8 cm) × ½" (1.3 cm). Leaf tips may be blunt or pointed.

Flowers: Clusters of flowers are about 3" (7.6 cm) around and up to 8" (20 cm) high. Each flower has four white notched petals up to ⅜" (9.5 mm) long, with prominent red stamens that are more than twice the length of the petals. Flowers appear from July to September.

Fruits: Yellowish green pods, on reddish stems emerging almost horizontally from the main stem, are angled upward. They remind me of a cross between a pea pod and a milkweed pod, though they are not related to either of these. Like the rest of the plant, the fruits are covered with sticky hairs.

These are somewhat similar:

 

Polanisia dodecandra (large-flowered redwhisker clammyweed)

8/31/2014 · New Mex­ico
≈ 6 × 7" (16 × 18 cm)

Polanisia dodecandra (large-flowered redwhisker clammyweed)

8/31/2014 · New Mex­ico
≈ 8 × 10" (21 × 25 cm)

Polanisia dodecandra (large-flowered redwhisker clammyweed)

8/31/2014 · New Mex­ico
≈ 9 × 6" (23 × 16 cm)

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Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma

Cleome hassleriana

Cleome serrulata
Common Name

large-flowered redwhisker clammyweed

spider flower

rocky mountain beeplant
Plant 12-24" (30-60 cm) tall. The stem is usually unbranched, and green to reddish purple. Both the stem and leaves are covered with sticky hairs. The plant has a strong odor. Erect annuals, up to 5' (1.5 m) in height, with round, slightly ridged stems. A single erect stem is 4-59" (10-150 cm) in height.
Flowers Clusters of flowers are about 3" (7.6 cm) around and up to 8" (20 cm) high. Each flower has four white notched petals up to ⅜" (9.5 mm) long, with prominent red stamens that are more than twice the length of the petals. Flowers appear from July to September. In compact racemes at stem tips. Purple, pink, or white, strongly scented, with four petals and six long, graceful stamens. Flowers appear from June to frost. Flowerheads are a spray of lavendar or pink flowers, each with four petals and four darker sepals. Green-tipped purplish stamens poke out from each flower. Almost looks like an exploding firework! Flowers appear from May to September.
Leaves Near the base of the plant, leaves are in groups of three. Further up the stem, they are single, alternate, elliptic, and nearly sessile. The upper leaves remain roughly constant in size along the stem, at up to 1½" (3.8 cm) × ½" (1.3 cm). Leaf tips may be blunt or pointed. Arranged in a spiral pattern around the stem. Leaves are palmate—shaped like fingers on a hand—with 5 or 7 leaflets. Each leaflet is narrowly oval, toothed, finely hairy, up to 4½" (12 cm) × 1½" (4 cm), on petioles (leaf stems) up to 6" (15 cm) long. Arranged spirally. Each leaf has three leaflets (trifoliate), often with tiny teeth. Each leaflet is ⅜-2½" (1-7 cm) long.
Fruit Yellowish green pods, on reddish stems emerging almost horizontally from the main stem, are angled upward. They remind me of a cross between a pea pod and a milkweed pod, though they are not related to either of these. Like the rest of the plant, the fruits are covered with sticky hairs. Capsules up to 6" (15 cm) × ⅛" (3 mm). Capsules similar to beanpods are 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long. Each contains several seeds.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 2-11

Habitats They prefer full sun and moderately moist to dry, gravelly or sandy soil. They are found on river banks, streamsides, roadsides, and other disturbed sites. Gardens and occasional garden escapes. Along roadsides, in disturbed soils, in meadows, or in rangelands. They prefer dryer cli­mates at elevations of 3000-9500' (914-2895 m).
Type Wild Escaped cultivar Wild

 

Online References:

Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma at Minnesota Wildflowers

Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma at the U.S. Forest Service Celebrating Wildflowers site

Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma on www.minnesotaseasons.com

Polanisia dodecandra (L.) DC. var. trachysperma (Torr. & A. Gray) Iltis

Polanisia trachysperma Torr. & A. Gray

 

Polanisia dodecandra ssp. trachysperma description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 6 Sep 2021.

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Range:

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