Wislizenia refracta – Spectacle Fruit

Wislizenia refracta - Spectacle Fruit, Jackass Clover

Wislizenia refracta - Spectacle Fruit, Jackass Clover

Wislizenia refracta - Spectacle Fruit, Jackass Clover (growing in an alkali flat)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Wislizenia refracta

Common Names: Spectacle Fruit, Jackass Clover

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual, Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Desert, Upland, Riparian. This weedy plant grows in sandy drainage areas, desert washes, alkali flats, fields, and along roadsides.

Flower Color: Yellow

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall. It blooms anytime from April to November.

Height: To 4 feet (1.2 m) tall

Description: The flowers are in dense, terminal racemes. The individual flowers are small and have 4 yellow petals. The flowers are followed by small fruit with bent stalks and twin, spectacle-shaped, single-seeded nutlets. The leaves are clover-like, light green, alternate, petiolate, and palmate with 3 rounded leaflets. The stems are upright and branched from the base.

Special Characteristics

Foul-smelling – The foliage has a strong, unpleasant, rank smell.

Poisonous – The foliage is poisonous, but grazing animals typically don't eat it because of its foul, unappetizing odor.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Capparales
Family: Capparaceae – Caper family
Genus: Wislizenia Engelm. – wislizenia
Species: Wislizenia refracta Engelm. – spectacle fruit

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map