Weak, annual herb, to 60 cm tall; stems at most sparsely pubescent, the nodes with retrorse spines to 2 mm long. Leaves palmately compound (or simple near base of plant); petioles 3-6 mm long; leaflets 3 (5), +/- lanceolate, acuminate, 3-6 cm long, strigillose and becoming glabrous above, occasionally with minute spines on midrib below. Inflorescences terminal racemes of few flowers, mostly less than 15 cm long in flower but to 30 cm long; pedicels 1-1.5 cm long, very slender, subtended by foliaceous bracts; sepals lanceolate, (2) 3-5 mm long; petals pale to deep pink, greenish-purple, green, or white, 3-6 mm long, with a claw about one-third as long as blade; stamens 6; gynophore 1-9 (11) mm long. Fruits narrowly fusiform siliques, 2-8 cm long and ca 3 mm wide, dehiscing regularly lengthwise; seeds numerous, reniform, 1.5-2.3 mm long. Croat 6403. The species can be recognized by a combination of palmately compound leaves, four clawed petals much exceeded by the stamens, and siliques borne on a gynophore. The species was mistakenly reported by Standley (1933) as Cleome houstoni R. Br., a species endemic to Cuba. Mexico to the Guianas (Surinam), Ecuador, northern Peru, and Amazonian Brazil; usually at elevations of 10 to 250 m, usually in marshes. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone on the Atlantic slope and in Darién.