This is a widespread plant which can be found in sandy, rocky, and disturbed areas, such as roadsides.
It grows a weedy-looking, branched stem which may reach a meter in height. The whitish-green stem and its lateral branches bear the occasional triangular sawtoothed leaf. The plant bears capsule fruits containing winged seeds.
At the tip of each branch blooms a spectacular yellow flower. The star-shaped flower has five narrow, pointed petals with shiny yellow surfaces, each up to 8 centimeters long. Between the petals are long, thin yellow sepals. The center of the open-faced flower is filled with a great many whiskery yellow stamens. Beneath the petals are long, curling bracts.
Media related to Mentzelia laevicaulis at Wikimedia Commons