Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Gaillardia pulchella

Indian Blanket, Firewheel, Girasol rojo

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Gaillardia pulchella (Indian blanket)
Flaigg, Norman G.
Firewheel or indian blanket is a popular annual growing 1-2 ft. tall. The hairy stem is usually much-branched and becomes woody at the base late in the season. Branched stems, mostly leafy near the base, have showy flower heads with rays red at base, tipped with yellow, each with 3 teeth at broad end. The well-known flower heads are 1-2 in. across with a red center and a yellow outer band. Occasionally the three-cleft rays are solid orange or yellow. The disk flowers in the center are brownish red.

Frequent along roadsides in the Southwest, these wildflowers stand like hundreds of showy Fourth of July pinwheels at the top of slender stalks. Varieties are popular in cultivation, for they tolerate heat and dryness. Among several species in the Southwest, some flowers are entirely yellow.

Image Gallery:

154 photo(s) available

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: 1-2
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: May flower longer if rains are plentiful.


USA: AL , AZ , AR , CA , CO , CT , FL , GA , HI , IL , IN , IA , KS , LA , ME , MI , MN , MS , MO , NE , NV , NH , NM , NY , NC , OH , OK , PA , SC , SD , TN , TX , VT , VA , WI
Native Distribution: W. SD to KS & LA, w. to CO & AZ; naturalized east to the Atlantic states & west to CA, south to Oaxaca in southern Mexico. The following native range is sometimes recognized: Sporadic distribution from NC to FL, w. to SD, CO & AZ; a casual migrant or escape northeastward.
Native Habitat: Dry plains & open areas, Widespread in calcareous and sandy-calcareous prairies in the western two-thirds of the state. Well-drained sand, loam, calcareous soils.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy or calcareous soils, often disturbed places, mostly in grasslands or open places.
Conditions Comments: Indian blanket is a major wildflower of the prairies and meadows. It reseeds readily and is easy to grow; good drainage is the only requirement. Rich soils will produce large, floppy plants with few flowers. Indian blanket is very easy to grow and is commonly used in roadside & meadow plantings. This species is a short-lived perennial in warm, coastal areas. The bloom period can be prolonged by deadheading and supplemental summer watering.


Use Ornamental: Wildflower meadow, Color, Long-blooming, Easily grown, Pocket prairie
Use Medicinal: Tea of root for gastroenteritis, chewed powdered root applied to skin disorders. Sore nipples of nursing mothers bathed in tea made from the plant, also used for sore eyes. Kiowa considered it good luck.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Last Update: 2016-02-19