This has been blooming in the sun in my yard in Massachusetts for the past two weeks. We've only lived here since last spring and since I didn't plant it, I'm guessing it's a perennial. What's intriguing is that the flower smells like it's been sprayed by a skunk. The leaves have no odor. Can anyone tell me what it is?

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1 Answer 1


It looks like Cleome hassleriana, commonly known as spider flower.

Identifying characteristics are the compound leaves with seven leaflets, the long petioles (leaf stalks), the way that the individual flowers are held tightly furled around the flower head, and the long stamens visible on the older flowers lower down on the head.

It's an annual, and spreads easily, so you may end up with more of it next year if you don't remove the seed heads when they form (if they even will, this late in the year).

  • Yup. Funny it doesn't have any fully opened flowers, after blooming for two weeks.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:18
  • @J.Musser If you zoom in, you can see where some flowers have lost their petals further down on the head.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:19
  • You can also see this when you zoom out. I meant, it's unusual for these to bloom in periods like that, mine always bloomed continuously.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:21
  • Could it be an offspring from a plant that seeded earlier this year? That might explain why it's only been flowering for two weeks if it's just now reached maturity.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:24
  • Sure. They seed like crazy. in fact, I don't plant them anymore, opting for something more tame in my location.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 22:26

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