Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sand Blazing Star

The sand blazing star,
also known as white-bract stickleaf, bracted blazing star and whitebract blazingstar (Mentzelia involucrata s. Watson)
has flower flower petals 1/2 " to 1-1/4" long that are cream-yellow colored
with orange to pinkish veins.
It has many stamens
that may be an inch long with filaments that are flattened and two-toothed at the tip.
It is an erect plant with many branches and can grow to 16" tall. It has 5" long alternate, lanceolate leaves, with larger leaves forming a basal rosette and smaller leaves along the stem.
The flowers are on the ends of stiff-haired stems
and are subtended by white, papery bracts which are almost entirely white, with a green border.
It is found in extreme southeastern Nevada, all but the eastern one-third of Arizona and southeastern California.
Indians used the seeds for food. They would gather the seeds in June after the flowers lost their petals. The seeds were parched with hot coals, then ground, resulting in a peanut butter-like consistency.

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