Whitestem Blazingstar

The Whitestem Blazingstar, which flourishes on dry, sandy soils in the desert valleys, foothills, gravel fans, washes, and scrub to pinyon/juniper woodlands, goes by a number of names, such as the White-stemmed Mentzelia, Mentzelia albicaulis, the Acrolasia albicaulis, Acrolasia gracilis, Mentzelia albicaulis var. albicaulis, Mentzelia albicaulis var. ctenophora, Mentzelia albicaulis var. gracilis, Mentzelia albicaulis var. tenerrima, Mentzelia gracilis, Mentzelia mojavensis, Trachyphytum gracile. It is of the family Loasaceae.
The whitestem blazingstar is an annual wildflower with simple to freely branched stems from two-and-a-half to 16.5 inches long. The stem is often glabrous below but becomes white and shining above. The hairs are often minutely barbed. The leaves measure from less than an inch to four inches long with the basal leaves typically linear to lanceolate in shape with variously fully-lobed, shallowly few-lobed to deeply pinnatifid margins narrowing gradually to the petioles. The stem leaves are linear to lanceolate with subentire to irregularly lobed margins.
The inflorescence consists of open, few-flowered cymes at the ends of the branches. The calyx is one-third inch to four-fifths of an inch long with short, triangular lobes from four-fifths of an inch to an inch-and-three-fifths inch long. The yellow petals are four-fifths of an inch to two-and-two-fifths of an inch long and often copper-colored at their base. The 15-35 stamens are shorter than the petals. The capsules are one-twelfth-of an inch to one-eighth of an inch long, covered with firm, stiff hairs and are narrowed toward the base.
Most often the whitestem blazing Star grows erect. An annual herb, the yellow flower has five shiny yellow petals. The fruit is a narrow, straight or curving utricle two-fifths of an inch to one-inch-and-a-fifth in length. It contains many angular seeds covered in tiny bumps.
In San Bernardino County, they are plentiful in the area around Barstow, Daggett, north of Barstow on the Fort Irwin Military Reservation, and in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Their flowering time runs from March to July. The Whitestem Blazingstar is edible and has medicinal uses.
The orange seed is put in a hot frying pan and when the seed turns a darker color warm water is added and stirred until it forms a gravy. The oily seed is parched and ground into a meal and then mixed with water to make a mush. The seed meal can be kneaded into a seed butter and used as a spread on bread. The minute seeds are much used for food by several native North American Indian tribes.
A poultice of the crushed, soaked seeds has been applied to burns and also to relieve toothache pain.

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