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Mentzelia laevicaulis

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About Blazing Star (Mentzelia laevicaulis) Mentzelia laevicaulis is a showy wildflower native to western North America. In California it is found in most counties throughout the state. Its common names include Giant Blazing Star and Smoothstem Blazing Star. It grows a weedy-looking, branched stem which may reach a meter in height. The whitish-green stem and its lateral branches bear the occasional triangular sawtoothed leaf. 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 centimeters 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 leaves. The plant bears capsule fruits containing winged seeds. This is a widespread plant which can be found in sandy, rocky, and disturbed areas, such as roadsides.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
3.3 ft (1 m)

Growth Rate

Sawtoothed leaves

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Summer, Fall

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Sandy rocky slopes, washes, roadcuts


Elevation ?
-167' - 9755'

Annual Precip. ?
4.2" - 80.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.16" - 2.77"

Coldest Month ?
24.7° F - 54.4° F

Hottest Month ?
48.0° F - 83.6° F

Humidity ?
0.29 vpd - 35.33 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers well-draining, rocky soil

Soil PH
5.8 - 9.6


Sunset Zones ?
1, 2*, 3*, 7*, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Wildlife Attracted
Native bees, bumble bees

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Common uses
Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Common Names
Smoothstem Blazing Star, Smoothstem Blazingstar, Giant Blazing Star

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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