This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Annual branching herbs, mainly glandular-pubescent and exhaling a strong disagreeable odor, with whitish or yellowish flowers, and palmately compound or rarely simple leaves. Sepals 4, lanceolate, deciduous. Petals slender or clawed. Receptacle depressed, bearing a gland at the base of the ovary. Stamens 8-∞, somewhat unequal. Pod nearly or quite sessile on its pedicel, elongated, cylindric or compressed, its valves dehiscent from the summit. Seeds rugose or reticulated. [Greek, very unequal, referring to the stamens.]
A genus of about 30 species, natives of temperate and tropical regions. In addition to the following, 2 other species are found in the southern and western parts of North America. Type species: Polanisia graveolens Raf.
Stamens equalling or slightly exceeding the petals; flowers 2 -3 ' long.
Stamens much exceeding the petals; flowers 4"-6" long.
Cleome dodecandra Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2:
32. 1803. Not. L. 1753. Polanisia graveolens Raf. Am. Journ. Sci. 1:
Viscid and glandular-pubescent, branching, 6'-18' high. Leaves 3-foliolate, slender-petioled; leaflets oblong, obtuse, entire, 6"-12" long; sepals purplish, slightly unequal; petals cuneate, clawed, deeply emar-ginate or obcordate, yellowish-white; stamens 9-12, purplish, equalling or slightly exceeding the petals; style about 1" long; pod lanceolate-oblong, slightly compressed, 1'-1 1/2' long, 3"-4" wide, slightly stipitate, rough, reticulated; seeds rough.
Similar to the last, but flowers twice the size (4"-6" long); style slender, 2"-3" long; stamens much exserted, often twice the length of the petals; filaments purple, conspicuous; pod slightly larger, nearly or quite sessile.