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Yellow Comet
Blazing Star

Mentzelia affinis

Blazing Star, Mentzelia affinis, photo © by Michael Plagens

This Yellowcomet Blazing Star was found in bloom along a sandy wash at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, USA on 21 March 2010.

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ANNUAL: Spring annual appearing in years with above average rainfall. Generally low growing and less than ½ meter tall.

FLOWERS: Of the various blazing star species found in the Sonoran Desert, this one has the smallest flowers; the petals are usually less than 10 mm long. The bright yellow flowers bloom mostly in mid spring.

LEAVES: Green leaves are variously toothed; generally the lower leaves are larger and with deeper indentations along the margins.

RANGE: Sonoran Desert, usually growing on creosote or grassland flats or adjacent to washes. Also found in portions of the Mojave Desert in California and Nevada.

FRUIT: The seed pods develop below the flower and are straight and slender. If you have a magnifier the seeds are fascinating to look at: they are shaped like tiny prisms and the angles have distinct grooves along their length.

UNARMED: No spines or thorns.

Loasaceae -- Loasa Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010