Because of its large, showy flowers, the whitish bark and the height (up to 3 feet), mentzelia laevicaulis
is a distinctive and easily-recognized plant, one with wide distribution in the West, from Canada to Utah. The star-like flowers can measure up to 5 inches across, composed of five tapered petals and a cluster of equally-long stamens, plus five narrow sepals, arranged between the petals. Underneath are shorter, greenish yellow bracts, curving downwards. The plant produces short branches, each topped by a flower, but grows mostly upwards rather than sideways.