Gaillardia aristata (Blanketflower)
|Also known as:||Common Gaillardia, Great Blanket-flower|
|Habitat:||sun; dry open prairies|
|Bloom season:||May - September|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers usually solitary at the end of a long hairy stalk. Flowers are 1½ to 3 inches across with 6 to 18 3-lobed yellow rays (petals) usually dark purplish red at base, and a relatively large dark purplish red central disk. Bracts are narrow, sharply lance-like and hairy.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, densely hairy, mostly basal with a few smaller alternate stem leaves. Leaf shape is variable, lance-like to spatula-shaped, lobed or unlobed, toothless or with irregular teeth. Stems are erect and mostly branching from the base, also densely hairy.
Fruit is a dark brown, conical seed 1/8 to 1/6 inch long, covered in light brown hairs. The white, bract-ish remains of the disk flower receptacle remain attached to the top of the seed, and are typically longer than the seed.
Notes:This species of the western mixed and tall grass prairies is diminishing in our state with the loss of these eceosystems, as are insects like the Dakota Skipper (soon to be on the Federal endangered species list) that depend on Blanketflower and other native species for its survival. Blanketflower is a species of Special Concern in Minnesota due to habitat loss. The open prairie image shown below was taken on a county road shoulder near Garrison, North Dakota. Seeds collected later that season were the stock from which the garden images came. Gaillardia pulchella, a southern US species not native to Minnesota (but occasional garden escapee) is similar but with more red than yellow in the flower, and is an annual to short-lived perennial. The native Blanketflower makes an excellent garden plant, blooming from spring to fall. A hybrid of G. aristata and G. pulchella called G. X grandiflora, is also readily available in the nursery trade.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Blanketflower plant
- Blanketflower in open prairie
- garden-grown Blanketflower
- hybrid Gaillardia X grandiflora
Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in North Dakota and in a private garden in Lino lakes.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?