Common Name(s):

    Rocky Mountain Stickweed
    Palmer’s Cleomella

    Scientific Name:

    Cleomella palmeriana M.E. Jones

    Scientific Name Synonyms:

    Cleomella cornuta Rydb.
    Cleomella montrosae Payson
    Cleomella nana Eastw.




    Life Span: Annual

    Origin: Native

    Growth Characteristics: Cleomella has stems which are ascending to erect, widely branching from the base, glabrous, and often red-tinged.

    Flowers/Inflorescence: Flowers are yellow to yellow-orange and borne on individual stalks which are 5-6 mm long. The petals are 3-4 mm long and tipped with red in the bud. The upper two petals are often recurved. There are 6 stamens, the filaments are about twice as long as the petals, and the anthers are coiled when dry. The ovary is at the top of a small stalk.

    Fruits/Seeds: Seeds are blunt or rounded at the top, the base is triangular. They are 2-5 mm long and 5-9 mm wide, growing on an often recurved, small stem which is 3-7 mm long. Seeds are few to several.

    Leaves: Palmately compound (like a hand), with 3 leaflets, 9-20 mm long, 2-9 mm wide, elliptical to oblong or lance-oblong. Upper leaf bracts reduced to a bristle appearing growth.

    Stems: 3 – 15 inches tall.

    Ecological Adaptions:

    Found on Mancos Shale, Tropic Shale, and Morrison Formation in desert shrub communities from 3900 to 6100 feet (1200-1850 m). A Colorado Plateau endemic limited to the Four Corners region, except for var. goodrichii Welsh with conspicuously horned fruits which is endemic to the Uinta Basin.

    Soils: Usually found on shale.

    Associated Species: Mat saltbush, Castle Valley Clover, Kochia

    Uses and Management:

    Cleomella aids in soil stabilization on highly erodible shale soils.

    Photo courtesy of Dr. Roger Banner, USU Extension