Mentzelia oligosperma Nutt. ex Sims
CC = 6
CW = 5
MOC = 18
Family - Loasaceae
Habit - Perennial forb with thick, woody roots.
Stem - To 80 cm, branched and spreading, brittle, the surface flaking when dry, roughened and densely pubescent with barbed hairs, whitish or gray.
Leaves - Alternate, simple, short-petiolate. Blades 1-7 cm long, 0.5-3.5 cm wide, lanceolate to rhombic, bluntly to sharply pointed at the tip, the margins coarsely and irregularly toothed and often also few-lobed, densely pubescent with barbed hairs.
Inflorescence - Teminal clusters of a few flowers, or solitary. Flowers subtended by 3-5 leaflike, irregularly toothed or narrowly lobed bracts.
Flowers - Hypanthium 4-6 mm long, densely pubescent with barbed hairs. Sepals 5, 5-9 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, fused at the very base, shed as a unit before fruiting. Petals 5, 8-12 mm long, 5-6 mm wide, oblong-obovate, orange. Stamens usually about 25. Staminodes absent.
Fruit - Capsule 7-14 mm long, cylindrical to clavate, densely pubescent with barbed hairs. Seeds 1-3 per fruit, 3-5 mm long, 1-2 mm wide, pendulous, not winged, narrowly oblong-elliptic in outline, 3-angled, the surface finely grooved with numerous wavy lines, brown.
Flowering - June - August.
Habitat - Ledges, bluff tops, upland forest openings, glades, railroads. Usually on calcareous substrate.
Origin - Native to the U.S.
Lookalikes - None.
Other info. - This species is Missouri's only native Mentzelia. The common names refer to the tendency of the plant parts to adhere tenaciously to fur, feathers, or clothing. A field botanist whom I know has had Mentzelia leaves persist on his trousers through airline travel and subsequent laundering. This tenacity is caused by the presence of complex hairs bearing whorls of retrorse barbs (see image above). These "pagodaform" hairs are a distinguishing feature of the Mentzelia genus.
Photographs taken at Castlewood State Park, St. Louis County, MO, 8-9-2010, Danville Conservation Area, Montgomery County, MO, 8-23-2016, and Klondike County Park, St. Charles County, MO, 6-11-2022 (SRTurner). Focus stacked image of hairs by Rick Gray, 7-7-2020.