CPC Plant Profile: Many-stem Spider-flower
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Plant Profile

Many-stem Spider-flower (Cleome multicaulis)

  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Capparaceae
  • State: AZ, CO, NM, TX, WY
  • Nature Serve ID: 161131
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/09/1992

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  • 09/03/2020
  • Reintroduction

Recent efforts to relocate the species at San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge have been unsuccessful (Arizona Rare Plant Committee 2001).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Historically, this species occurred in rare, suitable habitats in southcentral Colorado and from southeastern Arizona east to western Texas and south to northern Mexico, with 1 disjunct population in central Wyoming. However, the species is in apparent decline. The Arizona populations have not been confirmed since the 1940's and species has not been seen in New Mexico in recent times (the collections from Las Cruces, New Mexico date from 1851). Although there are now over 25 documented occurrences in Colorado alone, the species appears highly threatened, especially by water projects, and it occurs in few protected areas. The fact that it is an annual, along with its habitat specificity, may make it more vulnerable to chance extinction in a string of bad years or due to other stochastic events. Conservation Considerations: Many wetlands in the southwest have been destroyed and the few remaining continue to be seriously threatened by various human uses (Laurenzi and Spence, 2012).

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include: - Grazing. - Trampling. - Water project in the San Luis Valley: the drainage of wetland and water tables lowered. - Human activities.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

- The slender spiderflower has not been seen in New Mexico since 1851. (NMRPTC 1999) - Known from just two historical locations in Arizona, but have not been seen since the 1940s (Arizona Rare Plant Committee 2001). - Known from a single extant site in Wyoming, last observed in 2000. A second record from 6 miles east of the known colony has not been relocated in follow-up surveys. The label information from this latter specimen may be erroneous, and the two sites are actually confluent. Surveys in 1999-2000 documented approximately 500,000-1,000,000 individuals in 200 acres. Density ranges from 135-1300 individuals per square meter, depending on habitat quality. Population size may fluctuate annually, depending on moisture conditions and seed bank size. (Heidel 2007) - In Colorado, 30 occurrences have been documented.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

There is no formal management plan.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Understanding all aspects of ecology and biology of this species is needed.

Akiko Okawado
  • 01/01/2010

Ex situ propagation of the species for possible reintroduction into suitable habitat, seed germination, and restoration experiments are needed. Recent efforts to relocate the species at San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge have been unsuccessful (Arizona Rare Plant Committee 2001).


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Taxon Cleome multicaulis
Authority Moc. & Sessé ex DC.
Family Capparaceae
CPC Number 1006
ITIS 22621
Common Names Slender Spider-flower
Associated Scientific Names Cleome multicaulis | Peritoma multicaulis | Cleome sonorae | Peritoma sonorae
Distribution Arizona (Wilcox Playa and San Bernardino Ranch, Cochise County), Colorado (Saguache, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Costilla Counties) Colorado, New Mexico (Grant County), Texas (Presidio County), and Wyoming (
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona SH
Colorado S2S3
New Mexico SH
Texas S1
Wyoming S1

Wet, Saline or alkaline soils; around ponds, meadows, or old lake beds. Often grows in bands just above rushes and extending into greasewood and Saltgrass communities. Elev. 3,600-4,200 ft. in Arizona (Arizona Rare Plant Committee 2001). Elev. 7,500-9,000 ft. in Colorado (Spackman 1997). Elev. 4,330 ft. in New Mexico. Elev. 3,000 ft. in Texas (Jennings 1998). Elev. 5,860 ft. in Wyoming (Heidel 2007).

Ecological Relationships

None known.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
mixed breeding potential to self fertilize Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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