- Firewheel redirects here, for the Garland, Texas, shopping center see Firewheel Town Center
The branching stem of this plant is hairy and upright, growing to 60 cm (2 ft) tall. The leaves are alternate, mostly basal, 4–8 cm long, with edges smooth to coarsely toothed or lobed. The pinwheel, daisy-like inflorescences are 4–6 cm in diameter, vividly colored with red, orange and yellow. The central disc florets of the flower head tend to be more red-violet, with the outer ray florets being yellow. In one variety, almost the entire flower is red, with only the barest tips of the pedals touched with yellow. It blooms practically year-round in some areas, but more typically in summer to early fall. The seed is an achene.
It is a hardy plant, not picky about soil, though sandy and well-drained are best. It has a high drought tolerance and does best with a dry, hot climate in full sun. Its vibrantly colored flowers can be seen carpeting fields and the sides of highways for miles in the summer to late fall. Favored by honeybees, it produces a dark reddish amber buttery tasting honey. In the garden, the flowers can be removed/deadheaded to promote further blooming. It self-seeds freely.
Gaillardia pulchella (with the perennial Gaillardia aristata) is the parent of Gaillardia x grandiflora, a hybrid, from which several cultivars have been created. One of these is 'Sundance Bicolor', a perennial double-form with the flower heads having florets of alternating red and yellow. Because of its bright colors, it is well adapted in the sun. Others are 'Goblin' and 'Tangerine'.
This flower thrives in much of central United States, from northern Mexico to southern Canada. It is the state wildflower of Oklahoma. The flower has also been introduced to the Penghu Islands in Taiwan, where it is the County Flower of Penghu County. It is called "天人菊" ("Tianren Daisy") in Chinese.
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Gaillardia pulchella
- USDA Plant Profile: Gaillardia pulchella
- Flora of North America: Gaillardia pulchella
- Image Archive of Central Texas Plants
- Native Plant Information Network More information and images on Gaillardia pulchella
- Ajilvsgi, Geyata. Wildflowers of Texas. Shearer Publishing, revised edition 2003. ISBN 0-940672-73-1
- Floridata: Gaillardia pulchella
- Colorado State University: Gaillardia pulchella 'Sundance Bicolor'
- Seeds and More: Gaillardia 'Sundance Bicolor'
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