Indian blanket

Gaillardia pulchella

Summary 4

Gaillardia pulchella, commonly known as Indian blanket, is a hardy plant that grows well in sandy soil. It is native to northern Mexico and the southern and central United States, including New Mexico.

Botanical Information 5

Gaillardia pulchella, also known as Indian blanket, produces vibrant colored flowers that look like pinwheels. In Spanish they call this flower “girasol rojo”, which means red sunflower. This flower is sometimes called firewheel, because of it’s vivid red, orange, and yellow colors. The shape is like a wheel but on the inside the colors bleed into each other. The flower heads are 1-2 inches in diameter, made up of disc flowers in the center and ray flowers around the circle. The central disc flowers are red and the outer ray florets are red at the base with yellow tips. Each yellow tip has a count of three teeth. The transition shade between those parts of the ray flower is orange. This color pattern can create the image of fire. The plant itself can grow 1-2 feet tall. It has a wooden-like base with branched stems that are hairy. The leaves are 4-8 centimeters long. The Gaillardia pulchella is part of the Asteraceae family which is one of the most diverse plant groups. The life cycle of this flower varies. Their duration can be biennial, annual or perennial. Annual means they live through one whole growing season. Biennials take two years to complete their growing cycle. Then perennials are flowers that regrow every season so they live beyond two years.

Ecological Information 6

This plant grows best in dry, warm areas that have sand, loam or calcareous soils. Calcareous means the soil is composed of calcium carbonate which creates a chalky substance. Indian blanket flower is beneficial to bees and even caterpillars as a food source. Since the life cycle of the plant causes them to bloom frequently and early within the season, it is a good source of pollen and nectar. It attracts different kinds of bees and butterflies because of the flower's bright colors. Some butterflies' patterns and colors try to mimic the petals of the Indian blanket flower.

Ethnobotanical Information 6

The Indian blanket flower is useful to humans today as a medicinal remedy. For inflammation of your stomach or intestines, you can make tea from the roots. It has been used to treat skin disorders by grinding the root of the plant into powder or chewing it and then applying it to the skin. The tea can also heal sore eyes or sore nipples for mothers who have been breast feeding.

References 7 (Photo 1)

About the Author 8

Student author(s)*: Sydney from Menaul High School

*The entries in this field guide have been edited by Yerba Mansa Project staff to ensure that they contain quality, fact-checked content and standardized formatting.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Mary Keim, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  2. (c) Javi Gonzalez, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Javi Gonzalez
  3. (c) Matthew Paulson, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND),
  4. Adapted by smiller33 from a work by (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  5. Adapted by albuquerqueherbalism from a work by (c) smiller33, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  6. Adapted by Hannah from a work by (c) smiller33, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  7. (c) caseynm, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  8. Adapted by albuquerqueherbalism from a work by (c) caseynm, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

More Info

Range Map

iNat Map

Uses medicinal, pollinator
Flower red, yellow
Type herb