Gaillardia pulchella

Gaillardia pulchella

Firewheel redirects here, for the Garland, Texas shopping center see Firewheel Town Center

Gaillardia pulchella (Firewheel, Indian blanket, Indian Blanketflower, or Sundance), is a short-lived annual flowering plant native to the central United States.

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 diameter, vividly colored with red, orange and yellow. The central disc florets of the flowerhead 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 vibrant colored flowers can be seen carpeting fields and the sides of highways for miles in the summer to late fall. In the garden, the flowers can be removed/deadheaded to promote further blooming.

A number of cultivars have been selected. A newer cultivar is 'Sundance Bicolor', with the flowerheads having florets of alternating red and yellow.Because of its bright colors it is well adapted in the sun.

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

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