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Common name: Blanketflower
Scientific name: Gaillardia aristata
Duration: Perennial
Family: Sunflower family (Asteraceae)
Habitat: Dry sites in prairies and coniferous forests, from foothills to mountains. Well-drained soils. Full sun to partial shade. Once established is a hardy drought tolerant perennial. Great for gardening. Often found along roadsides.
Blooming period: Mid to late summer
Color: Red and yellow rays
Height: 2'
Planting Time: Fall to Spring; no stratification required

Pronunciation: Gaillardia aristata (gay-LAR-dee-a a-ris-TAH-tuh)

Other common names: common gaillardia, brown-eyed Susan

Forage Value: Blanketflower is an attractant for native pollinators and insects. As such, this plant is a potential food source for upland birds (grouse, pheasants). Low palatability for domestic livestock early in the growing season, but bighorn sheep readily graze this plant. This plant is great for attracting pollinators, in native settings and gardens alike.

Historic Uses: The Blackfeet used a tea made from this flower to treat digestion issues and relieve saddle sores. Cancer studies of major plant groups have determined that blanketflower contains a tumor-killing compound, gaillardin. This plant is common in gardens and many cultivars have been developed from this native plant.

Miscellany: Mid-height plants produce masses of fiery red blossoms, the petals tipped by rich flame yellow. Excellent for beds and borders as it self-sows freely; allowing seed heads to completely dry prior to trimming will aid in reseeding for the following year. Clipping spent flowers is recommended to extend bloom period and if volunteers not desired. One of the most adaptable perennials, it has a vase life of 6 to 10 days. Collected by Meriwether Lewis on July 7, 1806 in Montana as they crossed the Continental Divide (www.larkspurbooks.com).

Gaillardia refers to the 18th century French magistrate Gaillard de Charentonneau, who was also a naturalist and botany patron.

aristata in Latin means "with a long, bristle-like tip, bearded." This refers to a hair-like appendage on the anthers or the bristles of the receptacles.

Photo Credit: (Top left and center) J.W. Jensen; (right) D.M Skinner

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