Novon 17: 448. 2007.
Plants 50–150 cm. Stems unbranched or sparsely branched; (fluted), glabrous or sparsely glandular-pubescent. Leaves: petiole 2–12 cm,(glandular-pubescent); leaflets 5–9, blade narrowly lanceolate-elliptic, 6–15 × 1–5 cm, margins entire or serrulate, apex subobtuse, surfaces glabrate to glandular-pubescent. Racemes 15–50 cm (20–60 cm in fruit, glandular-pubescent); bracts unifoliate, ovate-cordate, 3–18 mm. Pedicels 10–50 mm, (glabrous). Flowers: sepals persistent, green, lanceolate, 4–7 × 0.8–1.2 mm, glandular-pubescent; petals usually brilliant pink to purple, fading to pink or white, rarely initially white, ovate, 15–42 × 8–11 mm, clawed; stamens green, 40–85 mm, (filaments adnate to gynophore 1/3–1/2 of length); anthers 6–10 mm; gynophore 30–85 mm in fruit (filament scars visible ca. 1/4 of length); ovary 6–10 mm; style 1–1.2 mm. Capsules (irregularly contracted between seeds) 60–150 × 3–5 mm. Seeds pale green to brown, 2.5–3.5 × 1–1.2 mm, tuberculate. 2n = 48.
Phenology: Flowering summer.
Habitat: Disturbed roadsides, vacant lots
Elevation: 0-50 m
Introduced; Fla., Mexico, West Indies, Central America, South America.
Cleoserrata speciosa is widespread horticulturally (with white-flowered plants not uncommon). It strongly resembles Tarenaya hassleriana (Cleome hassleriana) to the untrained eye (W. R. Ernst 1963b); considering its unique floral morphology and cytology, it remains difficult to place.