Desert Blazing Star (Mentzelia pumila)

Family: Loasaceae

This brilliant flower (nearly all of the yellow flowers in the --often bone dry -- Pool Wash Ridge Road hillside shown above are Mentzelia pumila, a member of the Stick Leaf Family. We see few of these in Hot Springs Canyon, though Epple indicates their location as "often along rivers" and their elevation as "below 3,000 feet", but here we see them in profusion closer to 3800 feet and on one of our drier ridges. This is a truly remarkable flower, as shown below:

Click on each image to enlarge it.


The flower at left above stands amidst numerous Phacelia purples; you can see its pale stem. The closeup on the right shows the complexity of this flower, which seems to have many petals, but actually the inner petal-like structures are outer stamens which have flattened, broadened filaments. (Do click on that right-hand image!) One feature not shown in our images here is the "blunt, bullet-shaped inferior ovary" at the base of the flower (Niehaus, Ripper & Savage, cited on Wildflower page, p. 168), which results in one of its names, "Bullet Stickleaf". Both leaves and stems have hooked hairs which cling to fur and fabric.

The leaves of the Desert Blazing Star are long, narrow, and many-lobed, grayish green in color and sandpapery to the feel. Click on the image below for an enlarged view.

Native Americans ground the seeds of this plant for edible meal.