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Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel, Indian blanket, Indian blanketflower, Indian paintbrush, or sundance), is a North American species of short-lived perennial or annual flowering plants in the sunflower family. It is native to northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Sonora, Tamaulipas) and the southern and central United States from Arizona east to Florida and the Carolinas and north as far as Nebraska. It is also naturalized in scattered locations in other parts of the United States as well as in Québec, Ontario, China, South Africa, and parts of South and Central America.
The branching stem of Gaillardia pulchella 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 petals touched with yellow. It blooms practically year-round in some areas, but more typically in summer to early fall. The fruit is an achene.
Gaillardia pulchella 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'.
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.
- The Plant List, Gaillardia pulchella Foug.
- Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
- Turner, B. L. 2013. The comps of Mexico. A systematic account of the family Asteraceae (chapter 11: tribe Helenieae). Phytologia Memoirs 16: 1–100
- Jørgensen, P. M., M. H. Nee & S. G. Beck. (eds.) 2014. Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia, Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127(1–2): i–viii, 1–1744
- Nelson, C. H. 2008. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Honduras 1–1576. Secretaria de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, Tegucigalpa
- Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. M. Welman, E. Retief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. Van Wyk & A. Nicholas. 1987. List of species of southern African plants. Memoirs of the Botanical Survey of South Africa 2(1–2): 1–152(pt. 1), 1–270(pt. 2).
- Flora of China, Gaillardia pulchella Fougeroux, 1788. 天人菊 tian ren ju
- United States Department of Agriculture Plant Profile: Gaillardia pulchella
- Flora of North America: Gaillardia pulchella Fougeroux, 1788. Firewheel, Indian blanket
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Gaillardia pulchella
- Colorado State University: Gaillardia pulchella 'Sundance Bicolor'
- Seeds and More: Gaillardia 'Sundance Bicolor'
- "Penghu County Flower".
- Image Archive of Central Texas Plants
- Ajilvsgi, Geyata. Wildflowers of Texas. Shearer Publishing, revised edition 2003. ISBN 0-940672-73-1
- Floridata: Gaillardia pulchella
- Kansas Wildflower Series, Brief article with High-res photography of Gaillardia pulchella
- Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture - Indian Blanket