Family • Capparaceae / Cleomaceae - Cleome spinosa Jacq. - SPIDER FLOWER - Xi yang bai hua cai

Scientific names

Cleome spinosa Jacq.
Cleome hassleriana Chodat
Tarenaya hassleriana Chodat

Common names

Botete (Ig.)
Grandfather’s whiskers (Engl.)
Spiny spider flower (Engl.)
Spider legs (Engl.)
Violet queen (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

BRAZIL:Mussambe-de-espino, Sete-marias.
CHINESE: Zui die huo, Zi long xu, Xi yang bai hua cai.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Cleome spinosa extract used in pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetic compositions / Fresh Patents

(2) New cembranes from Cleome spinosa. / Collins DO, Reynolds WF, Reese PB. / J Nat Prod. 2004, Feb;67(2):179-83.

(3) 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

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.

– Stomachic and vulnerary.
– Studies suggest anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antimicrobial 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.
– Oil of grains used for earaches.


Study Findings
• Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Compositions / Hair Growth: Patent application made for Cleome spinosa extract use in pharmaceutical preparation and cosmetic composition. Invention uses a Cleome spinosa extract as an active ingredient for extending the growth of hair follicles.
• 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.
• 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.