Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Gaillardia pinnatifida, Red Dome Blanketflower

Red Dome Blanketflower flowers attract butterflies and other insects. In the photo is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family of Brush-footed Butterflies. Gaillardia pinnatifida Red Dome Blanketflower flowers are large and showy. They often have both ray and disk flowers on the floral heads. Note the ray flowers in the photo are deeply cut (cleft) or lobed. Gaillardia pinnatifida Red Dome Blanketflower in the photo has lost the outer ray flowers and the disk flowers have become seed heads. Gaillardia pinnatifida Red Dome Blanketflower flowers produce cypsela fruits with a pappus of scales. Gaillardia pinnatifida Red Dome Blanketflowers are found at elevations from about 3,000 to 7,000 feet (900-2,134 m. Look carefully in the photo as a predatory Crab Spider, possibly of the genus Misumena, is lying in wait for an insect to come along. Gaillardia pinnatifida

Scientific Name: Gaillardia pinnatifida
Common Name: Red Dome Blanketflower

Also Called: Blanket Flower, Blanketflower, Cut-leaf Blanketflower, Hopi Blanketflower, Red-dome Blanketflower, Slender Gaillardia, Yellow Blanket Flower, Yellow Gaillardia

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Gaillardia flava; Gaillardia gracilis; Gaillardia mearnsii; Gaillardia pinnatifida var. linearis)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 1 or 2 feet ( 3-60 cm)

Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; plants with many upright slender branched stems; herbage generally rough with stiff (strigose) or soft straight hairs (villous).

Leaves: Light green or greenish-gray; leaf blade and shape variable; lower leaves pinnately lobed, upper leaves narrow and without lobes and without dentition; leaf surfaces with stiff hairs (strigose) or covered with long, soft straight hairs (villous) which are sometimes dense and white (canescent).

Flower Color: Yellow, reddish-orange or maroon to purplish streaked or with purplish tips, showy, up to 2 inches (5 cm) across; solitary flowers on slender flowering stems (peduncles); both ray (0 to 14) and disk (60 to 100) florets; flowers dome shaped, ray florets often deeply cut (cleft) or lobed; fruit is a cypsela with a pappus of scales.

Flowering Season: March or April to October; April through June in Texas

Elevation: 2,900 to 7,000 feet (900-2,134 m)

Habitat Preferences: Upper desert scrub, sunny open clearings in pine forests, pinyon-juniper, grasslands, mesas, disturbed areas, plains, sandy or clay soils.

Recorded Range: South-central to southwestern United States; AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX and UT. Also native to northern and central Mexico in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sonora. Largest populations in the southwest are in Arizona and New Mexico; there are also very good populations in southern Utah, southern Colorado and west Teas.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Gaillardia pinnatifida.

North America species range map for Red Dome Blanketflower, Gaillardia pinnatifida:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Red Dome Blanketflower, Gaillardia pinnatifida: Click image for full size map.
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
Wetland Indicator: Unknown
Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

Genus Information: In North America there are 12 species and 22 accepted taxa overall for Gaillardia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 24 accepted species names and a further 43 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.

The genus Gaillardia was published in 1788 by French plant physiologist, archaeologist, and naturalist Auguste Denis Fougeroux de Bondaroy.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 6 species of genus, California has 2 species, Nevada has 3 species, New Mexico has 4 species, Texas has 7 species, Utah has 6 species. Data approximate and subject to revision.

There are 2 varieties in Gaillardia pinnatifida;
Gaillardia pinnatifida var. linearis, Red Dome Blanketflower (AZ, NM, TX)
Gaillardia pinnatifida var. pinnatifida, Red Dome Blanketflower (AZ, CO, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT).

Comments: Red Dome Blanketflower is a showy plant and highly variable across its wide range. In Arizona it is usually found at elevations above 3,500 feet and often along roadsides.

The genus Gaillardia as a whole are generally referred to as the blanket flowers and many attract insects especially butterflies. Gaillardia typically produce single (solitary) flower heads in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, red, purplish, brown, white, or even bicolored.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora, Firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Flowers and plants of the genus Gaillardia may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals in search of food, nectar or cover.

Special Value to Native bees, Butterflies and Insects
Gaillardia species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species, including Schinia bina which has been recorded on Gaillardia pulchella and Schinia volupia which feeds exclusively on Gaillardia pulchella.

The genus “Gaillardia” (Gaillar'dia:) is named after Antoine Rene Gaillard de Charentonneau (1720-1789), a French magistrate, naturalist and patron of botany, member of the Académie Royale des Sciences. He received seeds of plants from the French colonies which he both cultivated himself and shared with other botanists.

The genus Gaillardia was published in 1788 by French plant physiologist, archaeologist, and naturalist Auguste Denis Fougeroux de Bondaroy.

The species epithet pinnatifida (pinnati'fida:) refers to the lower leaves which may be pinnately cut.

Red Dome Blanketflower or Hopi Blanketflower is used for a medicinal and other purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
  • Havasupai Food, Preserves; Seeds parched, ground, kneaded into seed butter and eaten with fruit drinks or spread on bread.
  • Hopi Drug, Analgesic; Plant used as a diuretic for painful urination.
  • Hopi Drug, Diuretic; Plant used as a diuretic for painful urination.
  • Keres, Western Drug, Gynecological Aid; Plant rubbed on mothers' breasts to wean infant.
  • Keres, Western Drug, Psychological Aid; Infusion of plant used to become good drummers.
  • Navajo Drug, Misc. Disease Remedy; Infusion of leaves taken and poultice of leaves applied for gout.
  • Navajo, Kayenta Drug, Other; Plant used for the effects of immersion.
  • Navajo, Kayenta Drug, Witchcraft Medicine; Plant used for bewitchment.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Antiemetic; Two cupfuls of decoction taken for heartburn and nausea.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Gastrointestinal Aid; Decoction of plant taken for heartburn and nausea.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Respiratory Aid; Plant used as snuff for 'congested nose.'

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 10/26/2014; updated 07/26/2020
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 07/26/2020) - for Gaillardia
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 07/26/2020).
    John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae; Gaillardia, 1. Gaillardia pinnatifida Torrey, Ann. Lyceum Nat. Hist. New York. 2: 214. 1827. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973; Editors; L.Crumbacher 2011, F.S.Coburn 2014, AHazelton 2016 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 07/22/2020).
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet - Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX. (accessed 07/26/2020).
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Gaillardia pinnatifida', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 January 2020, 20:20 UTC, [accessed 22 July 2020]
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Gaillardia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 March 2020, 12:33 UTC, [accessed 26 July 2020]
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology: Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 07/26/2020)