Gaillardia aristata

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Scientific Name: Gaillardia aristata
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Common Names: blanket flower, great flowered gaillardia
  • Codon: GALARI

Photo by Ben Legler, 2004, also featured on Main Page


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridiplantae
Phylum: Tracheophyta
Subphylum: Spermatophytina
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Gaillaridia Foug.
Species: Gaillardia aristata Pursh



Native, herbaceous taprooted perennial, with one or several stems rising from the base.[2] 1-3 dms tall.[3]

Leaves are alternate, rough-hairy, lance-shaped, entired to lobed, rarely pinnately divided.[2]

Capitate inflorescence bearing yellow rays, often maroon at base, 1.5-3.5 cm. long, disk corollas purplish. Receptacle concex to subglobose, with chaffy bristles that do not subtend the individual florets. [4]

Aristata derived from Latin arist, bristle, in reference to the hairy stems and leaves, and the bristled fruits.[2]

Fruit is a one-seeded, gray-brown achene, 7-10mm inch long, with densely ascending hairs, a short pappus crown 7-10mm long, and awns approximately two times as long as the fruit body.[2]

Bloom Period

May - September[5]


From south-central Canada to southern Colorado, east to the Dakotas and west to the Cascade Mountains of Washington and the Blue Mountains of Oregon.[2]


Sunny, well-drained sites in prairie meadows up to montane grassy openings.[3]


Medicine and Food

A rich array of medicinal uses, including but not limited to the following

Sx̌ʷyʔiɬpx use of whole plant decoction as a tonic for kidney ailments, poultice of plant applied for backaches, decoction of plant for headaches.[6]

Nlaka'pamux use of infusion of whole plant as a treatment for cancer. [7] It is important to note that depending on the time of the source and the orientation of the researcher, the term 'cancer' in medical and ethnobotanical texts may refer to a variety of conditions, that may or may not overlap neatly with common contemporary usage of the word.

Nlaka'pamux use of decoction of plant as a tuberculosis remedy.[7]

Havsuw' Baaja use as food, seeds parched, ground, and kneaded into seed butter.[8]

A rash or irritation may result from contact with the sap.[3]


G. aristata can be used in producing native wildflower sod for restoration of native plant colonies.[2]

Provides food source of pollen, nectar, and cover for a wide variety of pollinators. It is a common nectar source for the adult stage of the butterfly, Edwards fritillary, Speyeria edwards. [2]

A cryptic moth, Schinia masoni, is color-camouflaged to mimic the yellow ray flowers and purplish-brown disk flowers of blanketflower as protection against predators.[2]

Forage for young sage-grouse.[2]

Competes well with certain noxious weeds such as Acroptilon repens.[2]


Tolerant of drought conditions, and relatively fire resistant.[2]

May be grown from seed or crown division. Spring seeding is preferred over summer or fall dormant seeding. Stratification is not necessary, but a period of cold moist stratification may decrease germination variability. The plants tend to be rather long-lived and may re-seed once established. [3]

Photo Gallery


  1. Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved from
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Winslow, S., 2011. Plant Guide for blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata). USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plant Materials Center. Bridger, Montana 59014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Winslow, S. 2011. Plant fact sheet for blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata). USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plant Materials Center. Bridger, MT, 59014.
  4. Hitchcock, C. L., Cronquist, A., Giblin, D., & Legler, B. et al. (2018). Flora of the Pacific Northwest: an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  5. WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from
  6. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from
  7. 7.0 7.1 Turner, Nancy J., Laurence C. Thompson and M. Terry Thompson et al., 1990, Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, Victoria. Royal British Columbia Museum, page 181. Retrieved from
  8. Weber, Steven A. and P. David Seaman, 1985, Havasupai Habitat: A. F. Whiting's Ethnography of a Traditional Indian Culture, Tucson. The University of Arizona Press, page 67. Retrieved from