Gaillardia aristata (Blanketflower)

Plant Info
Also known as: Common Gaillardia, Great Blanket-flower
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
  • State Special Concern
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):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flower] 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.

[photo of bracts] Bracts are narrow, sharply pointed at the tip, and hairy.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: lobed Leaf type: simple

[photo of lower leaves] 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: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of seed] 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.


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 (currently listed as Threatened on the Federal Endangered Species list) that depend on Blanketflower and other native species for its survival. According to the DNR, Blanketflower was listed as a species of Special Concern in Minnesota primarily due to habitat loss. 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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More photos

Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Kittson County, in North Dakota and in a private garden.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Tood - Lino Lakes
on: 2011-06-21 19:04:42

Three of these happened to pop up in some disturbed soil the first year I moved here. Each successive year (now the fourth) a few more appeared nearby. Last year, I replanted a half dozen in an area I am trying to turn into a prairie garden. Now the 21st of June and the first of this year's flowers has appeared!

Posted by: Matt - Circle Pines
on: 2012-04-04 12:08:21

Todd, I also saw these growing at Rice Lake Elementary in Lino Lakes. They were in the wild area North of the soccer fields, off the new bike trail.

Posted by: Rick - Hawley & Syre
on: 2012-06-25 06:56:44

Coming into bloom on the native prairie sites 6/23/12

Posted by: Dee - Lilydale Regional Park 7-4-12
on: 2012-07-04 16:40:30

Many along the area lower than the road at a boat landing place. There were some that were all red. Smaller than your picture.

Posted by: Dee - Lilydale Regional Park
on: 2012-07-13 10:46:22

Last week I entered those flowers were seen at Lilydale. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The flower I saw was Common Tickseed, Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt. I am very sorry about this

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-07-15 20:42:34

Dee, your case of mistaken identity brings up the point that looking at more than just the flower is often necessary to correctly ID a species. I think this is especially true for almost anything in the aster family. :)

Posted by: Keith - Rural Pope County
on: 2014-05-20 15:25:30

I photographed Blanketflower in a CRP plot ten miles Southeast of Glenwood, MN.

Posted by: Paul - Hibbing
on: 2014-07-11 20:06:02

We noticed a grouping of these along one of the trails on our land near a pond.

Posted by: Alexia - Pelican Lake
on: 2015-08-03 11:09:31

Found these growing near some of the paved roads that go to some of the houses on Pelican Lake. There was several plants growing within 5 feet of each other and spaced out.

Posted by: Alice - Circle Pines
on: 2017-05-06 15:58:04

Some years ago ( about 2007, 2008, 2009 and in 2010) I plant these seeds! They were beautiful. I live across from the Centennial High School sports field in Circle Pines. I bought the seeds from American Meadows. WOW! So they must have been off springs from what I planted.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2017-05-06 17:13:31

FYI, Alice, American Meadows is not a good source for seeds because they also sell invasive species.

Posted by: Kristine C - Willmar
on: 2017-07-12 22:09:27

Found growing on the shores of Foot Lake.

Posted by: Leah B - Ramsey, growing in a vacant lot at the City Center
on: 2017-07-22 00:30:18

Judging by the color of the ones planted at the COR (City of Ramsey city center), they must be a hybrid. They have the brilliant orange burst in the center, fading out to yellow on the outer edge of the petals. I noticed them last summer for the first time and I've noticed that they are back this year.

Posted by: Kendra S - Karlstad
on: 2017-08-20 14:26:05

Kittson County, very few remnant populations here. Collecting seed and have established populations in prairie restorations.

Posted by: Sandra severt - Brainerd
on: 2019-05-12 18:26:25

Is it all right to plant blanket flower plants mid May in brainerd. Will they stand 40 degree night temperatures?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2019-05-12 21:31:04

Sandra, notice which counties are in its natural range - about as cold as Brainerd.

Posted by: Jesse - Clay county, Buffalo River State Park
on: 2020-06-14 17:13:39

Lots of beautiful groups of 10-15 flowers blooming along southern edge of buffalo river state park on June 14, 2020.

Posted by: Wayne - Big Lake
on: 2020-06-23 20:06:40

I have a large clump with several beautiful flowers. This is the third in my yard near the southern edge of Orrock Township in Sherburne County.

Posted by: Kate Gipp - Big Marine Park Reserve
on: 2022-07-02 14:01:55

There is a section of the park where I discovered Blanketflowers last year and I revisited the park today and they are presently blooming there among tall grass and and many milkweed plants. So beautiful!

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