Mentzelia laevicaulis (Hook.) Torrey and A. Gray

Blazing Star
Loasaceae (Loasa Family)


Blazing star is an erect perennial growing 3'-4' tall, branching from the upper portion of the stem, and with rough hairy foliage. It is one of the most spectacular blooms we have in southern California and is usually seen growing in very rocky and apparently inhospitable places.  The stems are mostly whitish-shining.  There is a basal rosette of lanceolate, shallowly-to-deeply pinnately-lobed, rough-sandpapery leaves 4" to 12" long, and the cauline leaves are alternate, ovate to lanceolate, shorter and pinnatifid. The flowers are large and showy in terminal clusters of 1-3 with five lanceolate, pale green sepals to 1-1/2" long and five light yellow petals to 3" long.  There are numerous stamens ± equal in length from 1"-2" with the outer filaments broadened to about 1/16" wide, and a style which often exceeds the length of the stamens.  The fruit is a straight cylindrical capsule, almost 2" long, with light brown, obovate seeds that have an slightly granular surface.  Blazing star blooms from June to October in a variety of plant communities mostly away from the coast throughout California to an elevation of some 8000'. These pictures were taken along the Angeles Crest Highway in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Mentzelia 2) laevicaulis.
Pronunciation: ment-ZEE-lee-a lee-vi-KAW-lis.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.