ID Guide 4: Identifying Bandana Daisy in SW Texas

During an iNat bioblitz in the Del Rio/Amistad area of Texas in early April 2018, we had the opportunity to document “Bandana Daisy” (Gaillardia coahuilensis), a very locally occurring relative of the common and widespread Indian Blankets (Gaillardia pulchella). Bandana Daisy was first described by Dr. Billy Turner in 1977* from specimens in that area, along with material from adjacent Mexico.

Typical examples of these two species can be seen here:
Bandana Daisy: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/12577376
Indian Blankets: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/12936811

Bandana Daisy is superficially quite similar to Indian Blanket, but can be readily separated by looking for the following characters:

Ray flowers: Although quite variable, the ray flowers of Bandana Daisy are usually divided deeper than those of Indian Blankets. Typically they are cut about 40-50% of the way to the base while those of Indian Blanket are rarely incised more than about 30%. Also, there is a tendency for the ray flowers of Bandana Daisy to have more yellow on them, occupying as much as 50% of the ray flower. Some populations can have completely yellow rays. This character is also variable in Indian Blanket but typically they are 60 to 90% red.

Disk flowers: This can be one of the easiest characters to observe. The disk flowers of Bandana Daisy have very short fuzzy hairs, while those of Indian Blanket are clothed with long tangled hairs which makes each little disk flower look like a starfish or medusa-head. The overall effect is of a relatively smooth disk for Bandana versus a frizzy disk for Indian Blanket.

Phyllaries: On Bandana Daisy, these are covered with very short curled hairs; there are no long marginal hairs. On Indian Blankets, the phyllaries are copiously covered with long spreading hairs including on the tops, margins, and base. Some of those hairs are nearly as long as the width of the phyllary. Sometimes the tips of the phyllaries--which show through in a top view of the flower--lack the long hairs, so be sure to look at the flower from a side view or the underside to examine all of the phyllaries.

Good close-up images with top and lateral views of the flowers of each species will easily show these distinct characters.

Range: http://bonap.net/MapGallery/County/Gaillardia%20coahuilensis.png
Bandana Daisy basically replaces Indian Blankets in the counties around the "hump" of the Rio Grande, centered on Val Verde and Terrell counties. It is mapped well up into Crockett County, along with Kinney County to the east. There are a few records in the s.w. corner of Edwards County, in western Uvalde County, and in northern Maverick County (Turner et al. 2003). It co-occurs with Perfumeballs (Gaillardia suavis) over this entire range.

  • Turner, B. L. 1977. A New Species of Gaillardia (Asteraceae-Heliantheae) from Northcentral Mexico and Adjacent Texas. Southwestern Naturalist 21(4):539-541. (Available for download from JSTOR.)

Turner, B. L., H. Nichols, G. Denny, O. Doron. 2003. Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas. Sida 24. Botanical Res. Inst. Texas.

Posted by gcwarbler gcwarbler, May 29, 2018 22:39

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Bandana Daisy (Gaillardia coahuilensis)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

April 6, 2018 11:22 AM CDT

Description

The maps in Turner et al. (2003) indicated this species replaces G. pulchella in this hump of the Rio Grande in southwest Texas (e.g. Terrell, Crockett, Val Verde, and Kinney cos.).

Photos / Sounds

What

Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)

Observer

gcwarbler

Date

May 20, 2018 10:17 AM CDT

Description

I'm uploading these images of standard Indian Blankets to use as a reference for a journal ID article. For the record, note:

-- Disk flowers with medusa-like tangles of long hairs (close-up in 2nd image);
-- Phyllaries with numerous long hairs, especially on edges (3rd image).

Both these characters will separate this species from the somewhat similar Gaillardia coahuilensis that occurs in s.w. Texas (primarily Crockett, Kinney, Terrell, and Val Verde counties). Compare to:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/12577376

I wrote a short journal article about this and I've tried to add a link to on the Bandana Daisy species page.
https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/gcwarbler/16792-identifying-bandana-daisy-in-southwest-texas

Comments

Perfect! Much better detail than wikapedia:)

Posted by itmndeborah over 3 years ago (Flag)

Thanks for the research!

Posted by alisonnorthup over 3 years ago (Flag)

Very concise. Thanks

Posted by caliche_kid over 3 years ago (Flag)

I was so certain that all of these were Gaillardia pulchella. Thanks for the corrections! :)

Posted by sambiology over 3 years ago (Flag)

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