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Loasaceae: Loasa Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Loasaceae
Plants of the Loasa Family

      The plants of the Loasa family have mostly rough vegetation with rough, hooked or sometimes stinging hairs. These are mostly desert and tropical plants, but a few species can be found in arid environments throughout the Rocky Mountains.

      North American members of the family have regular flowers, often 2 to 4 inches in diameter, typically with 5 (sometimes 4) sepals and 5 (sometimes 4 or 10) petals, and numerous stamens-as many as 200! The ovary is positioned inferior and consists of 4 to 7 (rarely 3 or 8) united carpels (syncarpous) forming a single chamber. It matures as a capsule with numerous seeds (only 1 seed in Petalonyx).

      In Mentzelia laevicaulis the outer ring of stamens can be flat, wide and missing the anthers, so they look like petals. In some specimens from southern California the sepals, petals and styles even resemble leaves. Worldwide, there are 15 genera and 250 species, mostly in South America and the southern parts of North America, but 4 genera are found in the north. Many species of the family have stinging hairs.

Key Words: Coarse, hairy plants of arid lands with numerous stamens.

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Mentzelia laevicaulis. Blazing Star.

Mentzelia laevicaulis. Blazing Star.

Mentzelia laevicaulis. Blazing Star.

Mentzelia laevicaulis. Blazing Star. Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, Montana.

Mentzelia multiflora. Adonis Blazing Star.

Mentzelia multiflora. Adonis Blazing Star.

Mentzelia multiflora. Adonis Blazing Star.

Mentzelia multiflora. Adonis Blazing Star. Chatfield State Park, Colorado.

Mentzelia albicaulis. Whitestem Blazing Star.

Mentzelia albicaulis. Whitestem Blazing Star.

Mentzelia dispersa. Bushy Blazing Star.

Mentzelia dispersa. Bushy Blazing Star.

Mentzelia involucrata. Sand Blazing Star.

Mentzelia involucrata. Sand Blazing Star.

Mentzelia involucrata. Sand Blazing Star.

Mentzelia involucrata. Sand Blazing Star. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada.

Mentzelia hispida. Streambank Stickleaf.

Mentzelia hispida. Streambank Stickleaf.

Mentzelia hispida. Streambank Stickleaf.

Mentzelia hispida. Streambank Stickleaf. Photographed at Tolantango Hot Springs, Mexico.

There are more
Loasa Family pictures
at PlantSystematics.org.


Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
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