Gaillardia pulchella

Gaillardia pulchella Foug.

Common Names: Indian Blanket, Fire Wheel

Family: Asteraceae

Habit: Gaillardia pulchella is an annual up to 60 cm in height (usually less) with a woody base. The glabrous, sessile leaves arranged alternately, oblong to oblanceolate, to 8 cm in length, with a toothed, lobed or entire margin and acute to rounded  leaf apex.

There are both perfect and imperfect (carpellate) flowers in few flowered heads. The perfect (disc) flowers are in the center and the imperfect (ray) flowers are arranged around the edge of the heads. Each flower is subtended by a bract.  The pubescent heads are sessile terminally and axillary. Unlike most in the family there is no calyx that has been modified as a ring of small projections (pappus).

The incomplete, imperfect, zygomorphic (ray) flowers have fused red (at base) and yellow (at end) petals (3 lobed apex) and no stamens. The complete, perfect, actinomorphic (disc) flowers have a corolla with 5 fused, yellow and purple petals.  There are 5 stamens fused at their base. In both types of flowers, the ovary is inferior with a single locule but only the imperfect flowers have functional ovules.  The fruit is an achene at maturity.

Habitat: Gaillardia pulchella grows in Human Altered environments (yards, roadsides, old fields).

Distribution: Gaillardia pulchella is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago.  It is native to the Mexico and the central and southern United States. It is now a tropical and subtropical weed throughout the world.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Gaillardia pulchella is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

Gaillardia pulchella is commonly used as an ornamental species in yards and gardens for its distinctive and colorful flowers.