Abstract: A simple growth technique capable of growing a variety of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanostructures with record growth rates of 25 μm/s is demonstrated. Visible lengths of ZnO nanowires, nanotubes, comb-like and pencil-like nanostructures could be grown by employing a focused CO2 laser-assisted heating of a sintered ZnO rod in ambient air, in few seconds. For the first time, the growth process of nanowires was videographed, in-situ, on an optical microscope. It showed that ZnO was evaporated and presumably decomposed into Zn and oxygen by laser heating, reforming ZnO nanostructures at places with suitable growth temperatures. Analysis on the representative nanowires shows a rectangular cross-section, with a [0 0 0 1] growth direction. With CO2 laser heating replacing furnace heating used conventionally, and using different reactants and forming gases, this method could be easily adopted for other semiconducting inorganic nanostructures in addition to ZnO.