Last year, we spotted a Pink Queen (Cleome hassleriana) plant in bloom across Fishing Creek from a trail off the end of Forest Service road FS1245B. W managed to get a reasonable photograph but there was no way that we could get across to get close-up photos. Incidentally, this was probably the final straw contributing to our decision to get a small, shallow draft boat to allow us to get access to remote areas from the water. Anyway. We were making our way up the Oconee River when we spotted plants that were starting to bloom. A couple were at a spot where we could step out of the boat to get closer views.
From a distance. We spotted plants on the shore but couldn't reach them.
A closer view.
The plants we could reach.
In profile. Before going ashore. We still didn’t know if the river bottom was solid or if we’d sink knee-deep in mud as is often the case along these rivers.
It has a compound leaf.
A flower head with no flowers open
Flower heads with a couple of opened flowers.
Individual opened flowers. I focused on the petals but it is possible to make out the stamen and stigma in each of the photos.
Cleome hassleriana (Pink Queen) is a native of South America, from Argentina to Brazil. In the United States, it’s found in states east of a line from Wisconsin, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas with the exception of the New England state. It may also been found in Ontario, Canada.
It’s an unusual find. According to the USDA Plant Database, this plant has been documented in only three counties in Georgia - White, Harris, and Lowndes counties. It hasn’t been officially documented in Greene County The most probable explanation for finding it here was that it was planted in a garden upstream - the Oconee River flows through Athens, Georgia, and seeds floated downstream and took root on this shore line. Although it’s an intriguing flower, I hate to see non-native plants take a hold beyond the domestic garden.
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- Southeastern Flora: Pink Queen (Cleome hassleriana)
- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Cleome hassleriana (Pink Queen)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Cleome hassleriana
- A Lonely Traveler: Pink Queen (Cleome hassleriana)