Giant 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. Giant 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
Peonunciation: ment-ZEE-lee-a lee-vi-KAW-lis.
Click here for Botanical