Herbs or shrubs (rarely trees), with a watery sap, alternate or very rarely opposite, simple or palmately compound leaves and axillary or terminal, solitary or racemose, regular or irregular, mostly perfect flowers. Sepals 4-8. Petals 4 (rarely none), sessile or clawed. Receptacle elongated or short. Stamens 6-∞, not tetradynamous, inserted on the receptacle; anthers oblong. Ovary sessile or stipitate; style generally short; ovules ∞, borne on parietal placentae. Fruit a capsule or berry. Seeds mainly reniform in our species; endosperm none; embryo generally coiled.

A family of about 35 genera and 450 species, mostly of warm regions.

Pod long-stipitate on its pedicel; stamens 4-6.

Pod linear-elongated; petals generally clawed.

Petals entire.

1.

Cleome.

Petals laciniate.

2.

Cristatella.

Pod short, rhomboid; petals sessile.

3.

Cleomella.

Pod nearly or quite sessile on its pedicel; stamens more than 6.

4.

Polanisia.