Polanisia dodecandra (Red-whisker Clammyweed)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Polanisia
Family:Cleomaceae (Spider Flower)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; along shores, sandy soil
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:1 to 2 feet
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: flat Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers, subsp. dodecandra] A flat cluster 1 to 2 inches across of stalked flowers at the top of branching stems and arising from upper leaf axils. Individual flowers are 3/16 to 3/8 inch long with 4 white notched petals that stand erect, about 10 long wiry red stamens that are at least as long as the petals, and 4 narrowly triangular to egg-shaped sepals that are reddish green.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves near the base of the plant are compound in 3's and stalked; on the upper part of the plant they are singles, with little or no stalk. Upper leaves and lower leaflets are elliptic, sometimes widest above the middle, up to 1½ inches long and ½ inch wide, with a blunt or pointed tip; color is dull yellowish green to purplish green. Leaves and stems are both covered with sticky hairs. Stems are unbranched, or branched near the base.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fertilized flowers are replaced with thin yellowish green pods up to 2 inches long that are also covered with sticky hairs. The pods stand erect.

Notes:

There are 2 subspecies of Clammyweed in Minnesota. Subsp. dodecandra, the more common, has flowers with petals up to ¼ inch long and the longest stamens only slightly longer than the petals. Subsp. trachysperma has petals up to 3/8 inch long and the longest stamens may be more than twice as long as the petals. While the fruits and leaves of Clammyweed resemble those of members in the Pea family, they are not related, and otherwise nothing else found in the wild looks quite like it. In Minnesota, the only other native species in the same family as Clammyweed is James' Polanisia (P. jamesii), which is miniature by comparison, and rare in the state.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Must have book for 2014: Pollinators of Native Plants

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken near Alexandria, Douglas County.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.