In Arizona this exceedingly handsome plant often covers the dry beds of rivers with acres of beautiful color. The smooth, branching stem is sometimes as much as eight feet high. The upper leaves are long and narrow and the lower are larger and usually have three leaflets, but all are bluish-green and peculiarly soft and smooth to the touch. The buds are purple and the delicate flowers, with threadlike flower-stalks, grow in a handsome, feathery cluster, sometimes a foot long, with numerous bracts. They have four, pinkish-lilac or white petals and six exceedingly long, threadlike stamens with minute, curling, green anthers. The lilac pistil is also very long and before the flower drops off begins to develop into a small, flat, green pod. These gradually lengthen, until the stem is ornamented with many hooklike pods, with slender stalks, hanging all along it. Many of the flowers do not produce fruit. The foliage when it is crushed gives off a rank, unpleasant smell, which is responsible for the local name of Skunk-weed. This is widely distributed and is found in the central and northern part of the United States, as well as in the Southwest.
Bee-plant Cleome serrulate. CAPER FAMILY. Capparidaceae.