Plant Image
Flower heads

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Cleome lutea - yellow spiderflower

Synonyms: Peritoma lutea
Other Common Names: yellow beeplant, yellow caper, golden caper
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Capparaceae

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Patrick Alexander @, Usage Rights: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Leaves and flowers
Liz Makings @, Usage Rights Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Annual
General Desc: An erect leafy plant, branching mostly in the upper portions. Small yellow flowers crowd together in elongated, showy clusters at the top of stems.
Identification notes: Petals pale yellow to 1/4 inch long with filaments about a 1/2 inch long. Leaflets mostly 5, sometimes 7.
Height: To 5 feet


Habitat Description: Along streams and in other moist areas; sandy flats; desert plains; weedy roadsides.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 2000 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Pale yellow     Shape: Irregular in elongated clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: May - Aug
Description: Flowers have 4 petals, each about 1/4 inch long, and 6 yellow stamens that are longer than the flowers. Clusters can appear rounded in appearance particularly when young.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Compound     Leaf Shape: Palmate     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Alternate     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: No     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Leaves on the lower part of the plant consist of leaflets that are lance shaped to 2-1/2 inches long. Small, singular upper leaves occur on the flowering stems.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Type: Pod
Fruit Notes: Slender pod 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches long, on long arched stalk jointed at middle.
Seed Notes: Rough, rounded seeds.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Content Questions/Comments: Email Mary Barnes  
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