Gaillardia pulchella

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Gaillardia pulchella
Gaillardia in Aspen (91273).jpg
Indian blanket inflorescence

Apparently Secure (NatureServe)[1]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Gaillardia
G. pulchella
Binomial name
Gaillardia pulchella
Foug., 1788
  • Calonnea pulcherrima Buc'hoz
  • Gaillardia bicolor Lam.
  • Gaillardia drummondii (Hook.) DC.
  • Gaillardia lobata Buckley
  • Gaillardia neomexicana A.Nelson
  • Gaillardia picta D.Don
  • Gaillardia scabrosa Buckley
  • Gaillardia villosa Rydb.
  • Galordia alternifolia Raeusch.

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel, Indian blanket, Indian blanketflower, or sundance), is a North American species of short-lived perennial or annual flowering plants in the sunflower family.[3][4][5][6][7][8]


Firewheel or Indian Blanket

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. It has a hairy stem, simple or branched near the base, where the leaves are essentially located towards the bottom of the plant.

The pinwheel, daisy-like inflorescences are 4–6 cm in diameter, vividly colored with red, orange and yellow and is surrounded by 10 to 20 ray florets; the ligule having three lobes. 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, almost pyramidal, hairy, and prolonged by a pappus 5 to 8 mm in length.[9][10]


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 deadheaded to promote further blooming. It self-seeds freely.


'Torch Yellow' cultivar

Gaillardia pulchella (with the perennial Gaillardia aristata) is the parent of Gaillardia × 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'.[11][12]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

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.[13] The plant generally lives in the sandy plains and deserts of the south of the North American continent. It is common along the roads and prefers sandy soils. It can also grow on vacant lots in urban areas, but generally below 1000 meters above sea level.[14]

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.[15]


Gaillardia pulchella is a larval host to the bordered patch butterfly (Chlosyne lacinia) and the painted schinia moth (Schinia volupia), which feed upon its foliage.[16]


  1. ^ NatureServe Explorer record
  2. ^ The Plant List, Gaillardia pulchella Foug.
  3. ^ Turner, B. L. 2013. The comps of Mexico. A systematic account of the family Asteraceae (chapter 11: tribe Helenieae). Phytologia Memoirs 16: 1–100
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Nelson, C. H. 2008. Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Honduras 1–1576. Secretaria de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, Tegucigalpa
  6. ^ 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).
  7. ^ Flora of China, Gaillardia pulchella Fougeroux, 1788. 天人菊 tian ren ju
  8. ^ United States Department of Agriculture Plant Profile: Gaillardia pulchella
  9. ^ Flora of North America: Gaillardia pulchella Fougeroux, 1788. Firewheel, Indian blanket
  10. ^ "Gaillardia pulchella". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  11. ^ Colorado State University: Gaillardia pulchella 'Sundance Bicolor'
  12. ^ Seeds and More: Gaillardia 'Sundance Bicolor'
  13. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  14. ^ MacMahon JA (1997) Deserts , National Audubon Society Nature Guides, AA Knopf Inc. ISBN 0-394-73139-5
  15. ^ "Penghu County Flower".
  16. ^ The Xerces Society (2016), Gardening for Butterflies: How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects, Timber Press.

External links[edit]