Sand Lily

Sand Lilies (Mentzelia nuda) have been growing on a sandy location in the county for many years. They are a western native flower that must have been accidently introduced this far east.  Other common names are Bractless Mentzelia, Upright Mentzelia, Bractless Blazingstar and Bractless Stickleaf.

We used to think they were Ten-petal Mentzelia (Mentzelia decapetala) because they were identified as such in widely used book of Midwestern prairie flowers. One of the differences is that Sand Lily petals do not overlap and Ten-petal Mentzelia petals touch or overlap. Both the Sand Lily petals and stamens are white or pale cream, while the Ten-petal Mentzelia’s stamens are yellow and the blossoms wider across – up to 6 inches (15 cm). Their leaves differ also. These are just two of the many Mentzelia species found in arid areas of the Americas.

Good sites to see the differences between these two are on the following links. Ten-petal Mentzelia is found here at Montana Plant Life. And information on Sand Lily is here at Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses. There is another unrelated white flower whose common name is Sand Lily found in the Pacific Northwest.

We were late going to visit the sand patch this year. Most of the blossoms had gone to seed. There still were some buds so a few images were made as this one opened late one recent afternoon. This one was especially pretty.

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