Mentzelia laevicaulis “Giant Blazingstar” Loasaceae

Missoula, MT
July 19, 2016
Robert Niese

This family of plants is completely new to me and it had me stumped for months after I first photographed it blooming under a full moon! Blazingstars, also known as Evening-stars and Moon Flowers, are so named because their flowers tend to open in late afternoon and evening, attracting a variety of pollinators including nocturnal insects like hawkmoths. They have a widespread distribution east of the Cascades, but are fairly uncommon. Here in Montana, two species of Mentzelia are considered species of concern due to their rarity.