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Sand Blazing Star
Mentzelia involucrata
About Sand Blazing Star (Mentzelia involucrata) Nurseries Show All Photos Mentzelia involucrata is a species of Mentzelia native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of North America. Its common names include sand blazing star and white-bract blazing star. Mentzelia involucrata is an annual plant growing to a height of 7-35 cm, with larger leaves forming a basal rosette, and smaller leaves along the stem. The leaves are between 2 and 18 cm long, with an irregularly toothed margin. The flowers are generally borne singly, and subtended by 4-5 bracts; they have five sepals 7-23 mm long and five cream-yellow petals 13-62 mm long. The fruit is 14-22 mm long and 5-10 mm wide, and contains rough ash-white seeds that are 2-3 mm long. The bracts of this species are distinctive in that they are almost entirely white, with a green border. Mentzelia involucrata is of interest because it is involved in a competition for pollinators that has resulted in mimicry. It produces nectar to attract bees of the genus Xeralictus. In areas where their range overlaps, Mohavea confertiflora (Ghost Flower), which does not produce nectar, has adapted a morphology resembling Mentzelia involucrata. Recent studies have suggested that in addition to mimicry of M. involucrata, Mohavea confertiflora flowers contain marks that resemble female Xeralictus, to attract male bees that would otherwise ignore the flowers. Ethnobotany. Mentzelia seeds have been identified as a staple food source for Native American tribes of the Great Basin. In an ethnobotanical study of the Kawaiisu people, Zigmond (1981) noted that Mentzelia (ku?u)was mentioned whenever his informants were asked to list important foods, and its gathering appeared frequently in mythology. The seeds were gathered in June after flowers lost their petals, and used immediately or stored. They were parched with hot coals, then ground on a metate; the resulting food had a peanut butter-like consistency. Zigmond also claimed that clay pots were filled with Mentzelia seeds before firing, but others have questioned whether this would be possible without destroying the pots through heat shock.

See the Jepson video about this plant here https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=WU4lNqXkmBU
Plant Description
Plant Type
Annual herb

Max. Height
0.23 - 1.2 ft (0.07 - 0.37 m)

Flower Color
Yellow, White, Cream

Native Status

Natural Setting
Elevation ?
-224' - 8491'

Annual Precip. ?
2.6" - 26.0"

Summer Precip. ?
0.16" - 2.69"

Coldest Month ?
27.0° F - 62.6° F

Hottest Month ?
54.5° F - 89.6° F

Humidity ?
1.96 vpd - 42.79 vpd

Butterflies ?

Protogygia album Image
Protogygia albumProtogygia album

Landscaping Information
Common uses
Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Bracted Blazing Star, White-bract Blazing Star, Whitebract Blazingstar

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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