Bee Plant, Rocky Mountain (Cleome serrulata)Regular price $3.98
Cleome serrulata is a charmer, painting a flash of bright pink along the dry Western and Prairie regions of North America. Its showy and nectar-rich blossoms attract droves of pollinators, usually bees, butterflies, and wasps. Also referred to as ‘Spider Plant,’ ‘Navajo Spinach,’ ‘Stinking Clover,’ or simply ‘Cleome,’ this plant has naturalized widely throughout the continent. The whimsical Rocky Mountain Bee Plant can reach four to five feet in height, and will tolerate dry or poor soils conditions well. Given its ability to grow happily in disturbed soils, Cleome is a good choice for restoration planting, establishing itself quickly and providing a beauty insects will swarm towards. It readily self-seeds to continue on through the next growing season.
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant has long been a culturally valuable plant for tribal groups indigenous to the American Southwest. We first see a written record of it from 1804, when Lewis and Clark noted the gorgeous spiking flower in South Dakota. The young shoots and leaves of the plant make for a nutritious vegetable, and the seeds have often been ground into meal for gruel or bread. Navajo people continue to use this plant as a source of yellow-green dye for blankets and rugs. Cleome serrulata can be boiled down to make a thick black resin stored in the dried form of cakes that various Southwestern tribes use to paint baskets and pottery. In traditional Indigenous medicine, Rocky Mountain Bee Plant has been taken as infusions to reduce fevers and stomach pain. When crushed, the plant has a disagreeable odor, though it is believed that decoctions of this plant have been used as shoe or body deodorizers. Regardless of its scent, the explosion of blooms and tenacity of this plant make it a delightful addition to one’s garden.