Botanical name: Cleome viscosa Family: Cleomaceae (Spider Flower family)
Synonyms: Polanisia viscosa
Asian spider flower is a usually tall annual herb, up to a meter high, more or less hairy with glandular and eglandular hairs. Leaves are digitately compound, with 3-5 leaflets. Leaflets are obovate, elliptic-oblong, very variable in size, often 2-4 cm long, 1.5-2.5 cm broad, middle one largest; petiole up to 5 cm long. Racemes elongated, up to 30 cm long, with corym¬bose flowers at the top and elongated mature fruits below, bracteate. Flowers 10-15 mm across, whitish or yellowish; pedicels 6-20 mm long; bracts foliaceous. Sepals oblong-lanceolate, 3-4 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, glandular-pubescent. Petals 8-15 mm long, 2-4 mm broad, oblong-obovate. Stamens 10-12 (rarely more, up to 20), not exceeding the petals; gynophore absent. Fruit 30-75 mm long, 3-5 mm broad, linear-oblong, erect, obliquely striated, tapering at both ends, glandular-pubescent, slender; style 2-5 mm long; seeds many, 1-1.4 mm in diam., glabrous with longitudinal striations and transverse ridges, dark brown.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are diaphoretic, rubefacient and vesicant. They are used as an external application to wounds and ulcers. The juice of the leaves has been used to relieve earache. The seeds are anthelmintic, carminative, rubefacient and vesicant. The seed contains 0.1% viscosic acid and 0.04% viscosin.
Identification credit: Pravin Kawale & L.P.A. Reddy
The flower labeled Asian Spider Flower is ...