Indian Blanket flower, City of Rocks State Park, Faywood NM, April 7, 2015

Indian Blanket

City of Rocks State Park, Faywood NM

April 7, 2015

Indian Blanket

These colorful Indian Blanket wildflowers are quite common here at City of Rocks State Park.

Indian Blanket, Firewheel, Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

The branching stem of this plant 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. The pinwheel, daisy-like inflorescences are 4–6 cm in diameter, vividly colored with red, orange and yellow. 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 pedals touched with yellow. It blooms practically year-round in some areas, but more typically in summer to early fall. The seed is an achene.

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

This flower thrives in much of central United States, from northern Mexico to southern Canada. It is the state wildflower of Oklahoma.

Wikipedia