Polanisia dodecandra (Red-whisker Clammyweed)
|Also known as:|
|Family:||Cleomaceae (Spider Flower)|
|Habitat:||sun; along shores, sandy soil|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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:
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.
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.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken near Alexandria, Douglas County.
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