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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Cleomaceae
Genus: Wislizenia

Wislizenia is a genus of flowering plants containing three recognized species native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.[1] Common names include spectacle fruit and jackass clover. Like genus Cleome and several relatives, Wislizenia has traditionally been included in the caper family, Capparaceae, but has more recently been moved to the new family Cleomaceae.[2][3]

Wislizenia is an erect, branching herb which forms a low, scrubby bush. It extends many dense racemes topped with densely packed flowers. The flowers are mustard-yellow and bear plentiful thready stamens which form a cloud about the inflorescence. The distinctive fruit is a conjoined pair of hard, tan nutlets containing the seeds. The foliage of this plant is toxic, but it is used readily by honeybees, making it a good honey plant.[4]

The genus is named for botanist Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus, 1810-1889. He was born in Königsee, Germany, but came to the United States in 1837. He spent much time exploring the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, writing memoirs on the botany and human customs of the region.


Three species are currently recognized, although some authors have suggested considering them as subspecies:[1][5][6]


  1. ^ a b Flora of North America v 7 p 213
  2. ^ Hall, J. C., H. H. Iltis, and K. J. Sytsma. 2004. Molecular phylogenetics of core Brassicales, placement of orphan genera Emblingia, Forchhammeria, Tirania, and character evolution. Systematic Botany 29: 654-669.
  3. ^ Holmgren, P. K. and A. Cronquist. 2005. Cleomaceae. In: A. Cronquist et al. 1972+. Intermountain Flora. Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. 6+ vols. in 7+. New York and London. Vol. 2, part B, pp. 160-174.
  4. ^ Calflora Plant Search Results
  5. ^ Keller, S. 1979. A revision of the genus Wislizenia (Capparidaceae) based on population studies. Brittonia 31: 333-351.
  6. ^ The Plant List
  7. ^ Calflora Taxon Report
  8. ^ Calflora Taxon Report

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