August 17, 2017

Spider Legs

Cleome hassleriana - spider flower

Credit: NotAnonymous | Wikimedia Commons - Cleome hassleriana

If one can get past the comparison to spiders, Cleome hassleriana is a rather stately plant, with its clusters of flowers loose and airy. Also known as spider flower, this beauty comes in shades of white, pink and purple, with a sweet fragrance. The plants easily reach 3 feet or more as an annual in Maine and attract hummingbirds and butterflies. If the resulting seedpods, compared to spider legs in looks, are left on the plant, cleome may self-sow the next year. If the conditions are favorable, it will produce scores of seedlings, even in Maine. And be warned: The plant produces sharp spines at the base of the leaf stalks, making picking the blooms a little tricky.