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Family Capparaceae / Cleomaceae
Cleome spinosa Jacq.

Xi yang bai hua cai

Scientific names  Common names
Cleome heptaphylla L. Botete (Ig.)
Cleome pubescens Sims Grandfather's whiskers (Engl.)
Cleome pungens Willd. Spiny spider flower (Engl.)
Cleome sandwicensis A. Gray Spider legs (Engl.)
Cleome spinosa Jacq. Spider plant (Engl.)
Cleome spinosa Sw.                                                 [Illegitimate] Violet queen (Engl.)
Cleome tonduzii Briq.  
Neocleome spinosa (Jacq.) Small  
Tarenaya spinosa (Jacq.) Raf.  
Cleome spinosa Jacq. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BRAZIL:Mussambe-de-espino, Sete-marias.
CHINESE: Zui die huo, Zi long xu, Xi yang bai hua cai.
GERMAN: Kleopatra nadel.
ZANZIBAR: Mvunjakhondo.

Botete is an annual, hairy, strongly-scented herb. Stems are erect, 30 to 90 centimeters in height, simple or branched. Leaves are alternate, palmately compound with 5- to 7-foliate, on petioles longer than the leaflets, commonly with stipular spines. Leaflets are entire, elliptic to obovate or rarely oblanceolate, 2 to 10 centimeters long, and pointed at both ends. Racemes are 10 to 30 centimeters long. Sepals are linear-lanceolate and 5 to 10 millimeters long. Petals are clawed, purple or rarely white, oval or rounded, 2.5 to 3.5 centimeters long. Fruit is a narrow capsule, 6 to 10 centimeters long, with pale and finely reticulated seeds.

- Originally Introduced in Baguio as an ornamental, now thoroughly naturalized.
- Wild and abundant along streams in Baguio.
- Used for bedding in gardens.

- Native of tropical America.
- Now pantropic.

- Oil of grains rich in glucosinolates.
- Yields flavone, flindulatin, and five novel diterpene cembranes, called cleospinol A, B, C, D and the 3'-hydroxy-isopentan-10-oate ester of cleospinol A. (5)
- Methanol extract of leaves yielded flavonoids, terpenoids, tannins and saponins. (see study below) (9)
- Cleoma spinosa was studied for essential oil. The chemical profile yielded a dominance of oxygenated sesqui- and di-terpenes, except the fruit oil with its high content of fatty acids. Most abundant compounds of whole aerial parts (fruits, leaves, and stems) were abundant in (Z)-phytol (31.3%), integerrimine (5.5%), and incensole (4.0%). Flower oil yielded main components of 7-alpha-hydroxy manool (23.8%), incensole (9.2%), and sclareool (8.7%). Chief constituents of fruit oil were tetradecanoic acid (40.6%), (Z)-phytol (6.58%) and sclareol (4.5%). Dominant compounds in the leaf oil were (Z)-phytol (19.5%), 7-alpha-hydroxy manool (6.8%), and caryophyllene oxide (4.36%). (see study below) (7)

- Stomachic and vulnerary.
- Studies suggest anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antimicrobial, and hair-promoting properties.

Parts utilized

- Bruised leaves applied to the head for headaches.
- Plant is a stomachic; in Brazil, used as an vulnerary.

- In Northeastern Brazil, used for treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract. Syrups and infusions of leaf and flower used for fever, influenza, cough, bronchitis and asthma. Whole plant used for digestive and cicatrizant effects. (6)
- Oil of grains used for earaches.

Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Compositions / Hair Growth: Patent application made for Cleome spinosa extract use in pharmaceutical preparation and cosmetic composition. (2) Invention uses a Cleome spinosa extract as an active ingredient for extending the growth of hair follicles. (3)
Anti-Inflammatory / Antinociceptive: Methanol extracts were evaluated using carrageenan-induced paw edema and acetic acid-induced writhing animal models. Results showed significant anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties. No toxicity was noted by Artemia salina bioassay. (6)
Essential Oil / Antimicrobial / Aerial Parts: Major compounds from the aerial portion without flowers were caryophyllene oxide, (-)-spathulenol and Z-phytol; In the flower oil, the main components were 7-alpha-hydroxy manool, incensole and sclareol; in fruit oil, tetradecanoic acid, (Z)-phytol and sclareol; In leaf oil, (Z)-phytol, 7-alpha-hydroxy manool and caryophyllene oxide. The volatile oil showed moderate action against seven of the eight bacteria strains used. The oils showed moderate insecticidal activity against Cylas formicarius elegantalus. (7)
Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study of methanolic extract of leaves showed antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive bacteria (S. aureus and B. subtilis), Gram-negative bacteria (E. coli and P. aeruginosa) and fungus (C. albicans, C. glabrata, and C. krusei). (see constituents above) (9)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves and Roots: Study evaluated the in-vitro antimicrobial potential and phytochemical composition of roots and leaves extracts. All extracts inhibited the test bacteria and yeasts. Activity was attributed to flavonoids, terpenoids, and saponins. Chloroform and chlorhexane extracts were the most active with MIC < 1 mg/mL against S. aureus, B. subtilis and M. luteus. (10)

- Wildcrafted.

Update November 2017 / December 2015

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE / Line Drawing / Cleome spinosa Jacq. - spiny spiderflower / USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 197. / USDA
Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Acylated anthocyanins in inflorescence of spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) / Jordheim Monica et al /
Phytochemistry 2009;70(6):740-5 / 2009
Cleome spinosa extract used in pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetic compositions / Fresh Patents
Tarenaya hassleriana (Chodat) Iltis (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
New cembranes from Cleome spinosa. / Collins DO, Reynolds WF, Reese PB. / J Nat Prod. 2004, Feb;67(2):179-83.
Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activity of field- growth plants and tissue culture of Cleome spinosa (Jacq.) in mice / Norma Albarello*, Claudia Simões-Gurgel, Tatiana Carvalho de Castro, Carlos Roberto M. Gayer, Marsen Garcia Pinto Coelho, Roberto Soares de Moura and Elisabeth Mansur / Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, Vol. 7(16), pp. 1043-1049, 25 April, 2013/ DOI: 10.5897/JMPR12.153
Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from Cleome spinosa. / McNeil MJ, Porter RB, Williams LA, Rainford L / Natural Product Communications, 2010, 5(8):1301-1306
Cleome spinosa / Synonyms / The Plant List
EVALUATION OF ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY AND CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF EXTRACT OF LEAVES FROM Cleome spinosa JACQ. / Silva, A. P. S.; Carvalho, V. C.; Silva, C. A.; Ara ̇jo, J. M ; Silva, N. H.; Cavalcanti, M. S.; Lima, V. L. M. / Brazilian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Antimicrobial Activity and Phytochemical Analysis of Organic Extracts from Cleome spinosa Jaqc. / Ana P. Sant'Anna da Silva, Luis C. Nascimento da Silva, Caique S. Martins da Fonseca, Janete M. de Araujo, Maria T. dos Santos Correia, Marilene da Silva Cavalcanti, and Vera L. de Menezes Lima / Front Microbiol. 2016; 7: 963.  / doi:  10.3389/fmicb.2016.00963
[Dermatitis as occupational disease, caused by "Kleopatra-Nadel" (Cleome spinosa)]. / Szego L, Maacz J / Dermatologische Wochenschrift 154:3 1968 Jan 20 pg 49-56 (No abstract available)
It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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