Blazing Star

Mentzelia laevicaulis

Mentzelia laevicaulis

Color: Yellow

Common name: Blazing Star

Latin name: Mentzelia laevicaulis


Height: 8-39 inches

Description: Mentzelia laevicaulis grows a weedy-looking, branched stem which may reach a meter in height. The plant bears capsule fruits containing winged seeds. At the tip of each branch blooms a spectacular yellow flower. The star-shaped flower has five narrow, pointed petals with shiny yellow surfaces, each up to 8 cm long. Between the petals are long, thin yellow sepals. The center of the open-faced flower is filled with a great many whiskery yellow stamens. Beneath the petals are long, curling bracts.

Leaf: The whitish-green stem and its lateral branches bear the occasional triangular sawtoothed leaf.

Range: California (except Great Central Valley, Sonoran Desert)

Habitat: Sandy to rocky slopes, washes, roadcuts

Elevation: < 2700 m.

Flowering time: Jun–Oct

Notes: Mentzelia laevicaulis, a dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada. This photo was taken on July 22, 2007 on Onion Valley road, Eastern Sierra, Inyo County, California.

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Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

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