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White-stem Blazing Star

Mentzelia albicaulis

Blazing Star, Mentzelia albicaulis, photo © by Michael Plagens

This Whitestem Blazing Star was observed in Rainbow Valley, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA on 9 April 2010.

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ANNUAL: Spring annual appearing in years after good winter rains. Generally low growing and considerably less than ½ meter tall.

FLOWERS: Bright yellow flowers with five petals, many stames; petals 12 mm long. Blooming mid to late spring depending on available moisture.

LEAVES: Green leaves are variously lobed and supported on stems that are conspicuously whitened.

Blazing Star, Mentzelia albicaulis, photo © by Michael Plagens

RANGE: Middle and upper elevations of the Sonoran Desert, often in transition to chaparral or desert grassland habitats. In washes and on bajadas. Ranges through mush of wesrtn North America.

FRUIT: The seed pods, roughly 25 mm in length, develop below the flower and are slightly enlarged towards the tip. Numerous small seeds. Mentzelia desertorum is very similar to M. albicaulis but apparently separable by the seeds which are smooth vs. roughened and by the number of chromosomes in the cells - these characters require a microscope making identification in the field uncertain.

UNARMED: No spines or thorns.

Loasaceae -- Loasa Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010