Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Gaillardia pulchella, Firewheel

Gaillardia pulchella, Firewheel, Southwest Desert Flora Gaillardia pulchella, Firewheel, Southwest Desert Flora Gaillardia pulchella, Firewheel, Southwest Desert Flora     Gaillardia pulchella, Firewheel, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Gaillardia pulchella
Common Name: Indian Blanket
Also Called: Firewheel, Indianblanket, Rosering Gaillardia
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Gaillardia neomexicana, Gaillardia drummondii, Gaillardia picta, Gaillardia villosa)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual, biennial or perennial.
Size: 1 to 2 feet tall.
Growth Form: Forb/herb or subshrub; may be woody at base; erect, hairy stem, multiple branches.
Leaves: Green; alternate, most leaves near the base, have stalks ( petioles) or not ( sessile), blade shape variable elliptic, linear or lanceolate, leaf margins toothed or smooth (entire), some pinnately lobed, leaves rough or sandpapery with short stiff hairs.
Flower Color: Yellow tips, red or purplish along the ray floret; variable color; heads showy 1 to 2 inches wide; numerous radiate heads; rayflowers with 3 teeth on outer edges; disk flowers numerous with variable color, outer disk flowers red to purple, inner florets yellow, orange or brown; fruit is an achene.
Flowering Season: April to September.
Elevation: 3,500 to 5,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: In Arizona along roadsides, often in disturbed areas, urban areas dry plains and open sandy grassy areas, prefer well drained soil.

Recorded Range: Firewheel or Indian Blanket is found over most of the eastern half, southern half and southwest parts of the United States, absent in the northwest states, also occurs in northeast Mexico. It is found in the east half of Arizona.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Gaillardia pulchella.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: 13 species in Gaillardia in the United States and Canada, 6 species in Arizona. Gaillardia pulchella contains 3 varieties and 3 accepted taxa overall.
Gaillardia pulchella var. pulchella, Indian Blanket found in Arizona;
Gaillardia pulchella var. australis, Indian Blanket found in Texas and
Gaillardia pulchella var. picta, Indian Blanket.

Comments: Gaillardia pulchella is a beautiful showy plant one might expect to find in well maintained gardens. In fact Firewheel thrives under cultivation and several varieties of been developed in an array of colors.

Firewheel is extremely adaptable and often found in disturbed areas, along roadsides and dry areas with sandy soil. Flowers from late spring through fall and blooms may be extended by late summer monsoons. Because of their beauty and hardiness, this wildflower, and many others are seeded along roadsides by highway departments. I am always suspicious of the naturalness of wildflowers blooming along roadways.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora, Red Dome Blanketflower, Gaillardia pinnatifida.

Several ethno-botanical uses have been identified for Firewheel See the entire species account from the on-line site Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn. See a complete species account at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 8/10/2014; Updated, 07/25/2015, updated format 10/10/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search:
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 8/10/2014)
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN. Published on the Internet [accessed: 8/11/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Gaillardia, FNA Vol. 21 Page 421, 422, 425, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 8/10/2014)
General information: (accessed: 8/11/2014)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,