Herbs & Plants

Cleome viscosa

Botanical Name: Cleome viscosa
Family: Cleomaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Brassicales
Genus: Cleome
Species: C. viscosa

*Arivela viscosa (L.) Raf.
*Cleome acutifolia Elmer
*Cleome icosandra L.
*Polanisia icosandra (L.) Wight & Arn.
*Polanisia microphylla Eichler
*Polanisia viscosa (L.) Blume
*Sinapistrum viscosum (L.) Moench

Common Names: Tickweed, Asian spiderflower.

(In northern India, the seeds (called Jakhya) are used as a culinary herb, mainly for tempering.)
Yellow spider flower, Cleome, Tickweed • Hindi: Bagra • Urdu: Hulhul • Malayalam: Naivela • Tamil: Naikkaduku • Kannada: Nayibela • Gujarati: Pilitalvani • Telugu: Kukkavaminta • Marathi: Pivala tilavan • Nepali: Hur Hure,Ban Toree,Toree Jhaar

Cleome viscosa is native to all the tropical regions of the earth.It grows on Sandy and freely draining soils in open woodland scrub and on scree slopes in dry areas. It’s considered an invasive species and it is widely distributed in warm and humid habitats across the Americas, Africa and Asia. It is commonly found during the rainy season.

Cleome viscosa is an annual herb that grows up to (10–)30–100(–160) cm. The stem is viscid, 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.

The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).


The plant prefers a light fertile soil in a warm dry sunny position with plenty of room to spread. A frost tender plant, it can be grown as a summer annual in Britain.

Edible Uses:
Leaves and young shoots – cooked as a vegetable. A sharp mustard-like flavour. The pungent seed can be pickled or used as a mustard substitute in curries. The seedpods are made into pickles. The juice of the plant is used as a condiment. An oil obtained from the seeds is used for cooking.

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, stimulant and vesicant. The seed contains 0.1% viscosic acid and 0.04% viscosin. A paste of the root is applied externally in the treatment of earaches.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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