Cleome hassleriana is an annual herb to 1.5 m tall, stem stout, sticky-hairy, branched above.
Leaves alternate, palmately compound, leaflets 5-7, narrow, widest above middle, finely hairy, central leaflet to 10 cm long, leaf stalk with pair of spines at base.
Flowers white to pink, 4 petals to 1 cm, narrowed at base all on one side, 6 stamens, in unbranched cluster at top of stem, elongating through season as fruits develop below.
Fruit dry, a thin capsule to 10 cm long; blooms and fruits June-Oct. Seeds viable through winter sprouting the next season.
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Occasional.
Origin: Tropical America.
Habitat: A garden plant, sometimes escaping.